It's no secret that presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has his fair share of haters. In fact, there's an entire movement led by prominent conservatives dedicated to keeping the real estate mogul from winning the general election and becoming president in November. At the helm of this #NeverTrump campaign has long been former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who earlier in the year called Trump "a fraud." However, as Trump's campaign continues its aggressive push toward the White House, many of his once-vocal opponents appear to be falling off the #NeverTrump train. Most recently, Romney ended his efforts to recruit potential third-party candidates to challenge Trump, but does this mean Romney will endorse Trump? It's not quite clear yet.
Romney, the official 2012 presidential nominee for the Republican Party, has ruled out running as an independent candidate to challenge both Trump and the Democratic Party's presidential bid. Moreover, Romney has reportedly stopped attempting to recruit others to run a third-party campaign, Yahoo News reported exclusively Wednesday. A source within Gov. John Kasich's campaign told Yahoo that Romney had encouraged the Ohio governor to run as an independent candidate and even offered his help on the campaign trail. Romney also reportedly reached out to Sen. Ben Sasse for a third-party candidate, according to the Washington Post.
But while Romney may no longer be actively encouraging a challenger to step forward, it seems he's still hoping someone will rise to the occasion. Because of this, it's pretty clear that Romney will likely not board the Trump Train with an endorsement anytime soon.
In March, Romney dished up a biting critique of Trump, who was then one of three candidates vying for the Republican nomination. "Here's what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud," Romney said in a speech delivered at the University of Utah. "His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He's playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat."
Romney didn't budge from his anti-Trump rhetoric when Trump was named the GOP's presumptive nominee after Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz dropped from the presidential race in early May. Even as Republican leaders, like RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, have looked to unite the party around Trump, Romney has remained an outspoken critic of The Donald. In mid-May, Romney ripped in to the real estate mogul's refusal to disclose his tax returns. "There is only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump's refusal to release his returns: there is a bombshell in them," Romney wrote in a post on his official Facebook page. "Given Mr. Trump's equanimity with other flaws in his history, we can only assume it's a bombshell of unusual size."
Like many of us, Romney may be experiencing presidential election doldrums — you know, the feeling that there's really no good candidate on the ballot, so voting comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils. And while Romney appears to have resigned himself to the fact that Trump is the Republican nominee, you'll likely see pigs fly before you see Romney endorse Trump for president in 2016.