Trump, Romney spar over future of Republican party

Washington: Donald Trump on Friday fired back at his party’s top leader Mitt Romney by labelling him as a “choke artist”, a day after the former White House aspirant blasted the Republican presidential front-runner as “a conman” and asked primary voters to block his path to the nomination.

Romney, 68, who was defeated by President Barack Obama in his 2012 re-election, yesterday joined a growing chorus of anxious Republican leaders who appeared to have ganged up against Trump in a last ditch effort to prevent him from becoming the nominee for the November presidential poll.

“If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished,” Romney said in a speech in Utah.

“Mr Trump’s bombast is already alarming the allies and fuelling the enmity of our enemies. Insulting all Muslims will keep many of them from fully engaging with us in the urgent fight against ISIS, and for what purpose? Muslim terrorists would only have to lie about their religion to enter the country,” Romney said.

“There’s plenty of evidence that Mr Trump is a conman, a fake. Trump has changed his positions not just over the years, but over the course of the campaign. And on the Ku Klux Klan, daily for three days in a row,” he said.

Responding to Romney’s remarks 69-year-old Trump criticised the former Massachusetts governor for “begging” for his endorsement four years ago only to sharply criticise him now.

“Well look, he (Romney) was a failed candidate, he should have beaten president Obama very easy,” Trump said at the top of a Republican presidential debate in Detroit.

A few hours later Trump, while addressing an election campaign, called Romney a failed presidential candidate who ran a “horrible campaign,” and repeatedly labelled him a “choke artist”.

“I backed Mitt Romney. He was begging for my endorsement.

I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees.’ He would’ve dropped to his knees,” Trump said.

He repeated this later in the night.

“He failed miserably, and it was an embarrassment to everybody, including the Republican party. It looked like he went away on a vacation the last month. So, I don’t take that, and I guess, obviously, he wants to be relevant. He wants to be back in the game,” Trump said(PTI)