Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump hammered former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, who will reportedly give a speech criticizing Trump from Salt Lake City, UT later today.
Trump offered a few choice words for Romney and pointed out that he had “begged” him for his endorsement in 2012.
Partial transcript as follows:
SCARBOROUGH: Let’s start with the news of the day. Mitt Romney, a man you endorsed four years ago, is coming out today with a speech calling you a phony and a fraud and he says that your promises are “As phony as a degree from Trump University.”
What is your reaction to Mitt Romney’s attack against you?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, he’s a man, who as you know, begged me, and I mean begged me for my endorsement four years ago. OK, so that’s fine.
He failed in his campaign, it was a horribly run campaign. Republicans didn’t even go out to vote. He was a disaster the last month, month and a half, he wasn’t on television, it was almost like he was lost, and he ran one of the worst campaigns, as you know, in presidential history.
That was an election that should have been won by the Republicans. He was a catastrophe. And I watched this happen and I wasn’t happy about it, and neither was anybody else. We backed him and I helped him and raised money for him, and I did everything, but he didn’t do the job, he didn’t have the capability to do the job.
And he certainly hasn’t gotten any better. As far as other things are concerned, we are — you probably see what’s happening, I mean, the biggest story in all of politics isn’t so much what’s going on with Mitt Romney, it the fact that the Republicans are gaining millions and millions of people because of me.
Millions of people are joining the GOP and they’re leaving the Democrats and they’re leaving independents, and they’re joining the GOP.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, let me — let me ask you about that, because it’s one of the most stunning numbers that we saw election night. I believe that Chuck Todd talked about it yesterday morning on the show, that it’s almost a complete reverse of what happened with Barack Obama in 2008.
TRUMP: Right. Right.
SCARBOROUGH: Where record numbers of Democrats were going out to the polls and actually it was an eight million to five million spread on Super Tuesday in ’08 for the Democrats. That has been — and we’re showing the chart on TV — completely reversed around, and this year, it’s now the Republicans that are up to 8 million people.
What is the difference? What do you think you are doing? What do you think you are saying that is bringing out these new voters?
TRUMP: Well, Joe, first of all, it’s an even bigger number. And Obama did a great job then, and this is an even bigger number. The number of people going into the Republican Party is an even bigger number as the number that went in — in the past — went in for Obama and to the Democrats.
So this is a huge story and it’s really the big story. Now, they focus on Romney, who’s, you know who’s just trying to stay relevant, but the biggest story out there by the people that really understand it is the fact that the Republican Party is gaining millions and millions of people, and you saw that with South Carolina, you saw that with Nevada.
I went to Nevada, the polling booths, and I tell you what, you couldn’t get within two 200 yards of the polling areas. The places were packed and the people who were working there said, “Mr. Trump, I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’ve been at these booths for years and I’ve never seen anything like what’s happening with the Republican Party.”
Millions of people have joined. Now, what they want to do is the establishment, they want to throw that out the window, because if I get out, all those people are going. They’re going with me, Joe. I mean, look, China and all of these things, I’ve been saying it for a long time, but what is happening — hey, Joe, we’re losing our jobs.
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