In the year of our election cycle two thousand and sixteen, I found myself agreeing with a once abhorrent Republican nominee for president. In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday, Mitt Romney blasted Donald Trump for racism, bigotry, and misogyny, saying that it could create a trickle-down effect on Americans. Yes, a man who once put the middle class at around $200,000 to $250,000 per year suddenly seems more in tune with what is best for the American public than the presumptive Republican nominee. What a world.
In Friday's interview, Romney fretted about the "character of America" if Trump were to become president. He took a break from his annual ideas conference, this year held in Utah's Wasatch Mountains, to tell Blitzer:
I don't want to see trickle-down racism. I don't want to see a president of the United States saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following. Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation, and trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America.
And that isn't a revelation that Romney came to during his yearly brainstorming session with GOP elite. Romney has been outspoken about his open opposition to Trump's candidacy, and previously joined John Kasich on the campaign trail. In a speech delivered in March, Romney decried Trump's candidacy, saying that if he were elected as the Republican nominee, "[T]he prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished." He went on to call Trump a "phony" and a "fraud" at the speech delivered at the University of Utah.
Four years ago, Romney was using his GOP retreat — dubbed the Experts and Enthusiasts, or E2, summit — to war game his general election candidacy. This year, the unofficial leader of the #NeverTrump movement is dealing with a fractured and confused Republican party, something that has undoubtedly has cast a shadow over the Deer Park, Utah powwow, which includes both pro- (Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus) and anti-Trump GOP leaders among its 300 attendees.
For his part, Trump (who doesn't seem to have been invited to the summit) pushed back against Romney's assertions in two tweets Saturday morning, and they're pretty much exactly the kind of defense that we've come to expect from the presumptive nominee.
Thanks for clearing that up, Donald!