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"A phony, a fraud" - it's panic stations for the Republicans as Mitt Romney takes a major pop at Donald Trump

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee’s outburst is being seen as a sign that the Republican party is deeply concerned about Trump’s meteoric rise.

photojoiner Mitt Romney and Donald Trump Source: PA

FORMER REPUBLICAN WHITE House nominee Mitt Romney excoriated Donald Trump as unfit to be president this afternoon, in a deeply personal attack that exposed party panic at the billionaire’s political success.

Baldly stating that “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud” Romney said his party’s frontrunner “has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president”.

Romney offered a litany of pejorative descriptions of Trump, saying he was greedy, dishonest, bullying and misogynistic.

His outburst is highly unusual in a party that has long sworn by Ronald Reagan’s ’11th commandment’: “thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”.

But Trump’s shock electoral success has provoked utter panic among the Republican establishment, who believe he will destroy the party if he wins the nomination.

Warning of “profound consequences for the Republican Party” Romney said that “if we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished”.

Presidential Campaign Trump and Romney pictured together in 2012 when Romney was the Republican nominee for the presidency Source: AP/Press Association Images

Grassroots anger

It’s as yet unclear what effect Romney’s intervention will have on Trump’s meteoric rise.

The real estate mogul has defied expectations in winning nine of the 15 state-wide primary contests held so far, garnering more than three million votes.

Using seemingly unlimited free media coverage, Trump has tapped into deeply felt grassroots anger at the party leadership.

Romney was quick to scotch suggestions he may use the speech to back a rival or throw his hat into the ring.

“I am not here to announce my candidacy for office,” he said.

I am not going to endorse a candidate today.

Romney heavily lost the 2012 election to incumbent president Barack Obama.

Diplomatically, he listed Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich and said “one of these men should be our nominee”.

© – AFP, 2016

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