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  Mitt Romney to rebuke frontrunner

Mitt Romney to rebuke frontrunner

REUTERS | STEVE HOLLAND
Published : Mar 4, 2016, 2:43 am IST
Updated : Mar 4, 2016, 2:43 am IST

Former Republican US presidential nominee Mitt Romney plans to deliver a rebuke of 2016 party frontrunner Donald Trump on Thursday in a high-profile display of establishment unease with the incendiary

Former Republican US presidential nominee Mitt Romney plans to deliver a rebuke of 2016 party frontrunner Donald Trump on Thursday in a high-profile display of establishment unease with the incendiary New York billionaire.

Billed as a major speech by the 2012 nominee, Mr Romney’s appearance in Utah comes hours before Mr Trump and rivals Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich share a debate stage in Detroit.

 

The 9 pm EST debate hosted by Fox News will be the candidates’ first face-to-face gathering since Super Tuesday nominating contests this week gave extra momentum to Mr Trump but did not knock out his rivals.

Sources familiar with his thinking said Mr Romney, in private conservations with friends and allies, had expressed increasing concern that Mr Trump could become the party’s nominee.

In a speech at 9.30 am in Salt Lake City, Mr Romney plans to call Mr Trump “a phony, a fraud” who is “playing the American public for suckers,” according to media reports citing excerpts from his remarks.

Mr Romney will point to Mr Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns and initial reluctance to disavow an endorsement from a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group, sources said.

 

Still, Mr Romney is not expected to endorse anyone in his speech. Two sources close to the former Massachusetts governor said he had been leaning toward backing Mr Rubio.

Location: United States, Michigan, Detroit