Mitt Romney called Donald Trump a “fraud” and “phony” whose words and actions are “degrading” to women, and whose policies would trigger a recession, make America less safe and foster an era of “trickle-down racism.”
Trump labeled Romney a “stiff” and a “catastrophe” who had “choked like a dog” when he ran for president in 2012.
Now Romney is a top contender to become Trump’s secretary of state, the U.S. government’s voice to the world and fourth in line of succession for the presidency — if the two men can put aside the ugly words they hurled at each other during the past year.
Trump may be willing to forgive — The New York Times says he has told aides that Romney “looks the part” — but many of the president-elect’s fiercest supporters are not yet ready to forget the former Massachusetts governor’s outspoken role in the “Never Trump” movement. Romney might even have to offer a public apology if he wants the job, Fox News’ Ed Henry speculated Friday morning.
“Many inside the building believe in reaching out to those who worked against us but believe Romney is a bridge too far, untrustworthy and, frankly, that there are better alternatives,” a senior transition aide told POLITICO.
Here’s a look back at the insults Trump and Romney traded over the course of the campaign:
1) Romney: On Muslims, Trump ‘fired before aiming’
At first, the dispute was policy-focused: Romney took to Twitter in December to attack Trump’s proposal for a ban on Muslim immigration and his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“On Muslims, @realDonaldTrump fired before aiming,” Romney wrote while linking to a statement from House Speaker Paul Ryan about freedom of religion. Romney also offered an “important distinction” between Putin’s leadership and that of the United States: “[T]hug Putin kills journalists and opponents; our presidents kill terrorists and enemy combatants.”
2) Romney: Trump’s tax returns might contain a ‘bombshell’
Romney grew more aggressive early this year as Trump’s lead in the Republican primaries became more clear — and he raised alarm bells over Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.
Accusing Trump of “dodging and weaving” on his taxes, Romney suggested that his reasons for doing so were less than benign.