During a keynote address Wednesday at the U.S. Chamber Institute’s Legal Reform Summit, Mitt Romney made a series of subtle jabs at the Republican nominee on his business platform, in front of a friendly audience used to Republican business orthodoxy.
After opening with a familiar refrain—“I get asked on a regular basis, boy, why aren’t you running this year. I ask myself that now and then, too”—Romney delivered a speech that seemed to dig at a few of Donald Trump’s policy positions without ever mentioning him by name.
“The great majority of our ancestors that have come to this country have come here for opportunity. Of the 25 largest market cap high-tech companies in America, 60 percent of them were started by first or second-generation immigrants,” Romney said.
Aside from Trump’s blustering over a “big, beautiful” border wall with Mexico, he has also promised to limit the H1-B visas coveted by tech companies, who argue foreign tech talent is necessary to get an edge over the competition.
“I don’t think either candidate for president has said they’re going to reform entitlements,” Romney said later.
Trump has not proposed any cuts or limitations on entitlement programs, and his tax cuts and immigration policies could actually leave less tax revenue to fund those programs.
Then, in comments calling back to Trump’s professed hatred of “corporate inversions,” which are used by American companies to move corporate headquarters to lower-taxed countries, Romney told the crowd that “politicians” want “to make it illegal for them to do that or tax them when they do that.” Instead, he insisted, “if they are leaving, don’t try to keep them from leaving, instead figure out how to make them want to stay!”
And, in an allusion to Trump’s “Make American Great Again” campaign slogan, Romney sounded…Romney-esque.
“I don’t shrink from saying America is the greatest nation in the history of the earth,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday morning, the 2012 Republican nominee for president urged voters to “defend and advance constitutional conservatism” by filling out a full ballot, but for one conspicuously unmentioned position:
Be sure to head to the polls for GOP Senate, House and statehouses; they are essential to defend and advance constitutional conservatism.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 26, 2016