The establishment big wigs gave it their best shot, but they lost. Donald Trump will be the nominee. As Republican Chairman Reince Priebus explained to a gathering of Mitt Romney’s top strategists and donors on Saturday, “He’s going to win with or without you.”
A few months ago, it was Chairman Priebus who convinced Trump to play nice with House Speaker Paul Ryan. And how he’s doing his best to shut down the Mitt Romney movement.
Priebus attended Romney’s annual business and politics conference in Park City Utah this weekend, where his pro-Trump message was juxtaposed with Romney’s claims that Trump represents a dangerous form of “trickle-down racism.” This only made matters worse for attendees who were already struggling with the question of what to do with the party’s controversial nominee.
Mitt Romney has been under considerable pressure to endorse Donald Trump in the effort to unite the Republican Party, and it seems the failed nominee of years past is started to crack: “Either choice is destructive. I love this country. I love the founder. I love what this country is built upon, and its values. And seeing this is breaking my heart,” he said with tears in his eyes.
Romney confirmed that he would not be campaigning for or against Donald Trump and predicted that 90% of the nation’s Republicans would vote for the billionaire.
“I would love to see the Republican Party come together,” said Spencer Zwick, finance chairman for Paul Ryan. “At the same time, with comments like the one Donald Trump has made recently, I don’t subscribe to that type of rhetoric. And I’m not an elected official. I don’t have to make an endorsement. There’s no pressure.”
In this case, Zwick was referring to the comment Trump made about District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Mexican heritage. You can read more about that issue here.
Other attendees, including Hewlett Packard President Meg Whitman, admitted they might vote for Clinton just to keep Trump out of the White House. Still others are waiting for a sign. “For me to jump in, this pivot has to come. We’re still in primary mode,” explained Romney’s friend and former fundraiser John Rakolta Jr. “I’m an optimist by nature, and I keep hoping and hoping and hoping that there will be a reason to support him.”
Overall, “this is not a rabidly anti-Trump crowd,” confirmed New York investor Anthony Scaramucci. “If anything, people are trying to find ways to diplomatically support the candidate.”
Donald Trump, who obviously was not invited to Romney’s three-day conference, had a thing or two to say about Romney come Monday morning.
Speaking on the air with Breitbart’s Stephen K. Bannon, Trump referred to Romney as a “choker,” adding that he should have won the election in 2012. “That election was easier than this election,” said Trump. “And now he’s going around having meetings…he ought to go into retirement and relax, because he’s wasting a lot of people’s time.”
Romney is still feeling guilty about 2012, theorized Trump. “He’s a very jealous guy. He’s got a lot of problems. I watched his statement over the weekend. Actually, it was sort of sad and pathetic.”
Despite Romney and his pack of confused Republicans, Trump is hopeful for the future of his party. “Look, you know the Republican Party has largely come together,” he said when asked if he thought the Republican Establishment was giving him more grief than his rival Hillary Clinton. “They agree with me, and they believe in me, and I got more votes than anybody in the history of primary elections.”