Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said he was worried that a Donald Trump presidency would promote “trickle-down racism” and appeal to the racist tendencies of some Americans.
“I don’t want to see trickle-down racism,” he said in an interview on CNN Friday.
“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,” he added.
Romney said he would not vote for Trump and would consider voting for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. Trump, he said, “is too great a departure from the values of our country.”
Not to be outdone, Trump fired off a tweet in response, in his signature brash style: “Mitt Romney had his chance to beat a failed president but he choked like a dog. Now he calls me racist-but I am least racist person there is.”
Mitt Romney had his chance to beat a failed president but he choked like a dog. Now he calls me racist-but I am least racist person there is
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2016
He then added: “[Famed boxing promoter] Don King, and so many other African Americans who know me well and endorsed me, would not have done so if they thought I was a racist!”
Asked what Trump would have to do to win his support, Romney said that there was nothing specific he was looking for.
“He’s demonstrated who he is and I’ve decided that a person of that nature should not be the one to, if you will, become the example for coming generations, or the example of America to the world,” he said.
Speaking at a rally in Richmond, Virginia, Trump said: “I am the least racist person, the least racist person that you’ve ever seen.”
He also promised to “bring our nation together.”
He also claimed that his general election foe, Hillary Clinton, “hates” President Barack Obama and repeatedly called Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas,” prompting some in the crowd to break out in Indian war cries.
Romney has been one of the most outspoken Republican Trump critics and continued hammering the presumptive nominee on CNN.
Of the billionaire businessman’s taxes, which Trump has refused to release, Romney says, “There’s something in those taxes that’s even worse than shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.”