Romney Excuse for Birther Trump Endorsement: I'm Running for Office and I Wanna Win!
At long last, Mitt Romney's embrace of an unsavory endorser is raising some eyebrows, even among self-described conservatives*. But Donald Trump's birther rants against Barack Obama apparently leave Romney unfazed, given his view of how, in true "free market" fashion, the ends justify the means. This morning, just hours ahead of the Las Vegas fundraiser the Donald is hosting for the Mittster, Trump reiterated his disbelief in the validity of the president's birth certificate during an appearance on CNBC.
Yesterday, when questioned about his embrace of Trump despite his birther carnival act, Romney, who says he accepts that the president was born in Hawaii, basically said, well, hey, I'm running for president, and I'm gonna need those birther votes. That's my interpretation. I'll leave you to yours. Romney to CNN, via TPM:
"You know, I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in," Romney said. "But I need to get 50.1% or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."
Sort of reminiscent of Romney's rejoinder to a challenge by Rick Perry, during one of those nearly-nightly Republican debates, over Romney's use of a landscaping company that was found to employ undocumented immigrant workers: "I said, for Pete's sake, I can't have illegals: I'm running for office!" (Video here.) Romney thought bubble: And that would really piss off the nativist wing of the party!
On the political chat shows, even right-wing Republican establishment types voiced their revulsion at Romney's Trump bromance. On ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos, the priggish George Will expressed bewilderment. Via ThinkProgress:
WILL: Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low and you can still intrude into American politics. Again, I don’t understand the benefit. What is Romney seeking?
On CBS This Morning, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan called on Romney to disassociate himself from the Trump "freak show."
(TPM's Pema Levy reports that the Obama campaign has responded with a video contrasting Romney's cowardice to McCain's 2008 campaign-trail rebukes of birthers and their ilk, which led Trump totweet a reminder that McCain lost the election. "Don't let it happen again!" reads the tweet. h/t Benjy Sarlin.)
Of course, Trump isn't the first extremist to whom Romney's hitched his star. We're still waiting for his repudiation of Ted Nugent's endorsement, in light of the washed-up rocker's referral to Hillary Clinton as a toxic c*nt, and his invitation to Obama to "suck on my machine gun." We did however, note, that this tweet has disappeared from the Twitter feed of Tagg Romney, Mitt's son. Somehow we knew it would, so we took a picture: