Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… For the second time in less than a year, Mitt Romney started a fight in Salt Lake City. But unlike his charity boxing match against Evander Holyfield last May, the feud he escalated with Donald Trump on Thursday might actually get him punched in the face.
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'16 from 30,000
Perhaps today's war of words between Mitt Romney and Donald Trump may be best explained in the immortal words of Taylor Swift: At this moment in time, it appears that the Republican establishment and the Trump wing of the party are never ever ever getting back together. Romney went well beyond the preview reporters got yesterday, calling Trump a "phony" who is "playing the American public for suckers" and "would "make America and the world less safe."
Soo…. we're guessing that means that the 2012 Republican nominee might not be gunning for the *best* convention speaking slot if Trump turns out to be the nominee after all, huh? Romney's takedown came neither early enough in the cycle or gently enough to imagine his wing of the party chalking the whole thing up to politics and asking for unity if Trump thunders to the nomination after March 15. It's now become virtually inconceivable to image the Romney and Trump wings of the party playing nice in Cleveland, whether Trump locks the delegate math up indisputably or if we go to a contested convention. Can a party divided stand?
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- Mitt Romney delivered a scorching indictment of Donald Trump on Thursday.
- NBC's Perry Bacon writes that the speech is a turning point in the campaign.
- MSNBC has a running list of all the Republicans who have spoken out against Trump.
- A former head of the IRS is calling on Donald Trump to release his tax returns, saying that there is no legitimate reason to withhold them.
- Another editorial board is calling for Chris Christie to resign as the governor of New Jersey -- and this time, it's from the largest newspaper in the state.
- Also...he told reporters he "was not being held hostage" while standing on stage behind Trump on Super Tuesday.
- And from First Read: The chance to stop Trump is real.
FOR THE RECORD…
"No, I was not being held hostage."
Chris Christie answering questions about his facial expression while standing behind Trump on Super Tuesday.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaign in Michigan. Sanders also makes a stop in Illinois. Bill Clinton hits New Orleans before heading to Nebraska.
Donald Trump is in Michigan and Louisiana. Ted Cruz is in Maine and Louisiana. Marco Rubio makes three stops in Kansas. John Kasich is in Michigan.
Kasich, Cruz and Ben Carson all address the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C.