Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney warned of “trickle-down racism” brought by the candidacy of Donald Trump, stressing it’s not any policy position that’s put him in the never Trump camp.
“Everyone else can make their assessment, but he indicated what he believes in his heart about Mexicans and about race by the comments he made about Judge Curiel,” Romney told CNN in an interview aired Friday. “And he may try and distance himself from that today, but we know what he believes based on what he said and by the way he didn’t just say it once, it wasn’t just a slip of the tongue which he went back and apologized for.”
“First of all, he’s repeated it time and time again, and second of all he’s never apologized for it. So he obviously sticks by what he believes.”
Asked if there was a way he could come to support Trump, Romney replied, “I don’t think there’s anything I’m looking for from Mr. Trump to give him my support.”
“He’s demonstrated who he is and I’ve decided that a person of that nature should not be the one who, if you will, becomes the example for coming generations or the example of America to the world,” he said. “Look, I don’t want to see trickle-down racism. I don’t want to see a president of the United States saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following.”
“Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation, and trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America. And so I’m not looking for Mr. Trump to change a policy that more aligns with my own — this is not a matter of just policy, it’s more a matter of character and integrity.”
Asked if the 2016 presumptive GOP presidential nominee is a racist, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee said: “I think his comments time and time again appeal to the racist tendency that exists in some people. And I think that’s very dangerous.”
CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked if the governor could get on board with supporting a couple of other former GOP governors: the Libertarian ticket of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.
“I’m going to look at what he has to say,” Romney said of Johnson. “His running mate, Bill Weld, is someone whom I respect enormously… he was a fine governor, a fine friend, a supporter of mine both in 2008 and 2012. If Bill Weld were at the top of the ticket, it would be very easy for me to vote for Bill Weld for president.”
“So I’ll get to know Gary Johnson better and see if he’s someone who I could end up voting for,” he added.
Romney said he couldn’t come to terms with the Libertarian candidate’s position on legalizing marijuana, calling it a “highly destructive” proposition. “Marijuana makes people stupid,” he added.
While noting he may write in a name, Romney said he would “look carefully at people who are on the ballot.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted: “Respect Mitt and differences but couldn’t disagree more. SCOTUS too important to lose for generations. Let’s stop this and unify.”