On the “Today Show” Friday morning, Matt Lauer asked Mitt Romney why he gave such a forceful speech denouncing Donald Trump after accepting the real estate mogul’s endorsement in 2012.
“Why go 180 degrees on the guy now?” Lauer asked.
In response, Romney said that there is a big difference between accepting an endorsement and giving one, but added that he would not accept an endorsement from Trump now given his comments throughout the 2016 campaign.
“First of all, I was seeking his endorsement, now he’s seeking mine. That’s very different. A lot of people endorse me I wouldn’t endorse for president,” Romney said. “And secondly, a lot has happened in the last year. And frankly, had I heard him say the things I’ve hear him say now, I wouldn’t have welcomed his endorsement.”
Lauer then asked, “Did you beg him for his endorsement four years ago?”
“I was welcoming his endorsement. I was happy to have it. I was looking for as many endorsers as I could possibly have,” Romney replied. “But when it comes to who I would support for president, there are a lot of folks who endorsed me I would not want to see as president.”
Romney said on Friday morning that he gave the speech because “the time came when Donald Trump’s outrage had reached such a level that I simply had to speak out.”
Lauer also asked Romney to clarify his plan to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee. In his speech, Romney encouraged Republicans to vote for the candidate expected to perform best in each state, such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Ohio and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in Florida.
“You were calling for nothing less than a suppress Donald Trump movement that will lead to Cleveland and a contested convention,” Lauer told Romney.
“Well, there’s no question I’m going to everything within the normal political bounds to make sure that we don’t nominate Donald Trump,” Romney replied. “I want to see one of the other three become the nominee.”
Lauer asked Romney why he is waiting to endorse a candidate, and Romney noted that all of the candidates had endorsed him and that he will likely endorse a candidate following the March 15 primaries.
Romney also addressed whether he would consider becoming the Republican nominee if the race leads to a contested convention in July when asked by Lauer.
“No, no. The people who can save this party are Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or John Kasich,” he replied.
When pressed by Lauer, Romney added, “There are no circumstances I can foresee where that would possibly happen.”
Lauer noted that Romney said that he can’t “foresee” any circumstance, asking him to be clear.
“I’m not running for president, and I won’t run for president,” Romney said.
While Romney said that he will not vote for Trump in the general election, he said that he would not vote for Hillary Clinton if presented with that choice.
Watch the interview via “Today.”
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