Mitt Romney speaks at former 2016 GOP candidate John Kasich’s campaign stop on March 14 in Westerville, Ohio. | AP Photo
Mitt Romney argued on Friday that Donald Trump’s rhetoric could make racist and misogynistic sentiments more permissible in America.
The 2012 Republican nominee hammered the presumptive Republican nominee’s past comments on race, saying on CNN’s “The Situation Room” that if Trump were to become president, his words would pose an even larger danger.
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“I don’t want to see a president of the United State saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following,” Romney said. “Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation, and trickle down racism and trickle down bigotry and trickle down misogyny — all of these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America.”
When anchor Wolf Blitzer asked Romney directly if he thought Trump was racist, the former Massachusetts governor again focused on the implications of Trump’s rhetoric.
“I think his comments time and again appeal to the racist tendency that exists in some people and I think that’s dangerous,” he said.
Romney’s comments didn’t stop at Trump’s rhetoric. He continued to rail against the real estate mogul, criticizing his temperament, which he suggested posed problems in a world “which is as combustible as it has ever been during my lifetime.”
“This is a very dangerous world and requires a person who is thoughtful,” Romney said, highlighting key geopolitical issues that he thinks could catalyze future conflicts like the crisis in Syria, a nuclear-capable Pakistan and China’s assertiveness.
Romney also rejected the idea that any shift in Trump’s policies or rhetoric would convince him to reconsider saying that the damage had already been done and that Trump has already “demonstrated who he is.”
“I am absolutely convinced that Reince Priebus is right when he says Mr. Trump will be able to read from the text and present a different image going forward but that is not something which is consistent with who he is as demonstrated by his past,” Romney said. “This is not a matter of just policy, it is a matter of character and integrity. “
Trump’s spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, responded to Romney’s comments later in the show. When Blitzer asked for her thoughts on what Trump said, Pierson pivoted away from the comments, and attacked Romney head on, attributing his charges to being jealous of Trump.
“This is someone who that’s run for office several times and lost,” Pierson said. “Honestly, these attacks against Donald Trump — I think Mitt Romney is just upset because when he did attack Donald Trump on his business, Donald Trump let the whole world know he had a Gucci store worth more than Mitt Romney, so this is just sour grapes.”