When Obama brilliantly skewered Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last year, you might’ve thought the billionaire would slink off the political field. But, to the great glee of Team Obama, ‘The Donald’ is still keen to keep playing. Ever since Trump’s endorsement of Mitt Romney back in February, the Democrats have been attacking Romney by association (‘They both like firing people’, they said, tying Romney’s ‘I like being able to fire people’ gaffe to Trump’s famous Apprentice catchphrase).
And yesterday, the Obama campaign put out an ad attacking Romney for not denouncing Trump’s claims that the President wasn’t born in the US, contrasting it with the way John McCain repudiated the nastier claims about Obama in 2008. Trump’s response? ‘He keeps using John McCain as an example,’ he tweeted, ‘however, John McCain lost the election. Don’t let it happen again.’ But the property tycoon then made Obama’s attack even more potent, and Romney’s discomfort even greater, with a rant on CNN in which interviewer Wolf Blitzer had to stop him and say ‘Donald, you’re beginning to sound a little ridiculous’:
All of this is making it increasingly difficult for Mitt Romney to maintain a stance that appeases Trump and the significant number of Republicans who still refuse to believe that Obama was born in the US (a YouGov poll in January found that 37 per cent of them don’t) without alienating independents and moderates. On Monday night, as he headed to Las Vegas for a fundraiser with Trump, Romney attempted to justify his position:
‘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. But I need to get 50.1 per cent or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.’