Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney threw out the nation's remaining political playbook Wednesday morning in a speech at the University of Utah, which he described as a "state of the 2016 campaign" address.
He did not announce his entry into the race or support any candidate in particular. Instead he advocated people vote for whichever candidate has the best chance of beating Donald Trump "in a given state." "This means that I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio," Romney explained.
"I know that some people want the race to be over," Romney said. "They look at history and say a trend like Mr. Trump's isn't going to be stopped." Never before in modern political history has a former presidential candidate come out so strongly in opposition to his potential successor.
"Perhaps. But the rules of political history have pretty much all been shredded during this campaign," Romney continued.
"If the other candidates can find common ground," Romney suggested. "I believe we can nominate a person who can win the general election and who will represent the values and policies of conservatism."
"Given the current delegate selection process, this means that I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio, and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state."
Donald Trump responded later in the day.
Romney's full speech:
Eric Fehrnstrom, former top Romney aide, tells RCP: "The mood of the Republican Party seems to favor Donald Trump" pic.twitter.com/W3t2oKhB0E— Rebecca Berg (@rebeccagberg) March 3, 2016