Mitt Romney speaks at the Hinckley Institute of Politics in Salt Lake City. (Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP)
Mitt Romney absolutely will not run for president.
Following a speech the onetime presidential hopeful gave in which he railed against Donald Trump and lobbied for a brokered convention, “Today” host Matt Lauer asked repeatedly whether he was considering throwing his own hat into the ring.
“Have you left the door open just wide enough for you to ride through it on a white horse? Do you want to be considered as an alternative?” Lauer asked.
“No. The people who can save this party are Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or John Kasich,” Romney said.
Lauer tried again. “Under any circumstances … if large numbers of people in the establishment wing of the Republican Party come to you and say, ‘Mitt, you’re the guy who can save the day’?”
“There are no circumstances I can foresee where that would possibly happen,” Romney answered.
“I can foresee,” Lauer repeated after him, sensing a caveat.
“No reasonable scenario I can imagine,” Romney said.
A third time, Lauer pushed. “Just slam the door on it. Close the door. Unambiguously, you will not run for president.”
“I am not running for president, and I won’t run for president,” Romney replied.
Lauer also asked Romney to explain how he could ask Republicans to not vote for Donald Trump when he so eagerly welcomed the real estate mogul’s endorsement in 2012.
“Just because he’s made a lot of money doesn’t mean that his economic policies are right for America,” Romney said. He followed, “A lot of people endorse me that I wouldn’t endorse for president. … And frankly, had I heard him say the things I’ve heard him say now, I wouldn’t have welcomed his endorsement.”
Lauer also pressed Romney to explain why he isn’t endorsing any of the other candidates yet.
“There are three people on that stage who all endorsed me and are friends — actually four, including Donald Trump.”
Lauer interrupted, “Is [Donald Trump] a friend of yours?”
“We get along,” Romney said with a smile. “I doubt we’re going to spend a lot of time together now.”
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