Trump and Romney have had a roller-coaster relationship for years, often throwing insults at each other in times of distress — and exchanging pleasantries when mutually beneficial.
Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who is now running to replace retiring Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, famously called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” during Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump has repeatedly slammed Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, for his failed 2012 campaign, despite endorsing Romney that year.
Still, Trump considered Romney as a possible Secretary of State before choosing Rex Tillerson, and now Trump has endorsed Romney’s political comeback.
Thank you Mr. President for the support. I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 20, 2018
Here’s a history of Trump and Romney’s rocky relationship.
February 2012: Trump endorses Romney
Trump endorsed then-GOP presidential candidate Romney’s campaign back in February 2012. “Mitt is tough, he’s sharp, he’s smart,” Trump said at the time.
“Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how the economy works,” Romney said, adding, “it means a great deal to me to have the endorsement of Mr. Trump.”
October and November 2012: Trump boosts Romney on Twitter
As the 2012 presidential election approached, Trump took to Twitter, calling on Americans to vote for Romney, posting videos and quotes from the candidate and lauding his performance in debates against former President Barack Obama.
Congratulations to Mitt Romney. He was not only good, he was absolutely fantastic tonight!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2012
"Mr. President, you're entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts." --@MittRomney— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2012
.@MittRomney looks much stronger and much more Presidential!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2012
Tomorrow’s election will have historic repercussions for our country. Make America strong again. Vote for @MittRomney.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2012
Make sure to vote today. Vote for real change. Change that will deliver jobs and a free & strong America. Vote for @MittRomney.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
November 7, 2012: Trump says Romney blew the election
After Romney’s loss to Obama, Trump tweeted that Romney “is a good man but he just never connected with the people.”
This was the Republicans election to win. @MittRomney is a good man but he just never connected with the people.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
October 2014: Trump says Romney shouldn’t run again
Amid rumors that Romney would run for president again in 2016, Trump tweeted that Romney “had his chance and blew it.”
I can't believe that Mitt Romney would run for president again. He had his chance and blew it in the last weeks of the race.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2014
July 2015: Romney criticizes Trump’s campaign launch
After Trump announced he would run for president, Romney criticized Trump’s remarks on Mexico and undocumented immigrants — saying that the comments hurt the Republican Party.
“I think he made a severe error in saying what he did about Mexican-Americans,” Romney said, according to CNN.
Days later, Romney then slammed Trump for going after Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s military record.
Trump responded by pointing to Romney’s loss to Obama in 2012.
Why would anybody listen to @MittRomney? He lost an election that should have easily been won against Obama. By the way,so did John McCain!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2015
September 30, 2015: Romney says Trump won’t win
In a speech at Georgetown University, Romney said he “would have never predicted” that Trump would be leading his party, according to the Washington Post. He also predicted Trump would not become the Republican presidential nominee.
He added that while he found Trump’s popularity to be a positive for the party, his rhetoric was a negative.
“The negative side is that he’s said some things that he described the other day as being ‘childish,'” Romney said. “I’m afraid he brought attention to [immigration] in a way that was not productive and not appropriate in saying the things he did about Mexican-American immigrants.”
Trump later responded on Twitter.
.@MittRomney is trying to hit back at me because I'm saying that he let the Repub Party down w/ his loss to Obama. Should've won—he choked!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2015
February 24-25, 2016: Romney wants Trump’s tax returns
Before Trump secured the GOP nomination, Romney said the remaining three Republican candidates should release their tax returns, noting that there may be a “bombshell” in Trump’s.
Trump then responded by saying Romney’s “tax returns made him look like a fool,” and pointed to his endorsement of the 2012 candidate, saying Romney “was so awkward and goofy” back then.
Mitt Romney,who totally blew an election that should have been won and whose tax returns made him look like a fool, is now playing tough guy— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2016
When Mitt Romney asked me for my endorsement last time around, he was so awkward and goofy that we all should have known he could not win!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2016
The war of words then continued on Twitter on Feb. 25, with Trump calling Romney a “dope” and sharing a photo in which he said he was signing “a recent tax return.”
Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2016
Signing a recent tax return- isn't this ridiculous? pic.twitter.com/UdwqF4iZIZ— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2016
Romney retorted with the hashtag “#WhatIsHeHiding.”
February 29, 2016: Romney says Trump’s hesitation to disavow the KKK is ‘disqualifying’
Just days after their feud over tax returns, Romney criticized Trump’s failure to immediately condemn former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
A disqualifying & disgusting response by @realDonaldTrump to the KKK. His coddling of repugnant bigotry is not in the character of America.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 29, 2016
March 3, 2016: Romney makes a last-ditch effort to stop Trump
In a wide-ranging, scathing speech against the then-presidential candidate, Romney criticized Trump on everything from his temperament to his economic plan to his foreign policy experience.
“Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Romney said at the University of Utah. “His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.”
If Trump had said 4 years ago the things he says today about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled, I would NOT have accepted his endorsement— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 3, 2016
Just hours after Romney’s speech, Trump responded at a rally in Maine by pointing to his endorsement of Romney in 2012. “He was begging for my endorsement,” Trump said. “I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees.’ He would’ve dropped to his knees.”
Why did Mitt Romney BEG me for my endorsement four years ago?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2016
March 2016: Trump says Romney ‘choked’
Trump double-downed on his criticism of Romney, calling him a “failed presidential candidate” who “choked and let us all down.”
.@MittRomney was a disaster candidate who had no guts and choked! Romney is a total joke, and everyone knows it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2016
Failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the man who "choked" and let us all down, is now endorsing Lyin' Ted Cruz. This is good for me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2016
Mitt Romney is a mixed up man who doesn't have a clue. No wonder he lost!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2016
October 8, 2016: Romney condemns Trump’s ‘vile degradations’ after Access Hollywood tape
After the Washington Post published the infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump bragged about groping women without their consent, Romney took to Twitter to blast the presidential candidate.
Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 8, 2016
November 9-13, 2016: Romney congratulates Trump on winning
Romney tweeted well-wishes to Trump after he won the 2016 presidential election.
Best wishes for our duly elected president: May his victory speech be his guide and preserving the Republic his aim.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) November 9, 2016
Days later, Trump said Romney called to congratulate him for his win.
Mitt Romney called to congratulate me on the win. Very nice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2016
November 19, 2016: Romney visits Trump
Romney visited the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the then-president elect was considering candidates to fill his Cabinet.
At the time, Vice President-elect Mike Pence told Fox News Sunday the two politicians had a “good meeting.”
“It was a warm and a substantive exchange,” Pence said, confirming Romney’s consideration for the role of Secretary of State.
November 29, 2016: Trump and Romney have dinner
Romney and Trump dined in New York City as Trump considered Romney for one of his top Cabinet positions. Romney told reporters after the meeting that Trump was “the very man who can lead us,” according to Reuters.
“We had another discussion about affairs throughout the world and these discussions I’ve had with him have been enlightening, and interesting, and engaging,” he said at the time. “I’ve enjoyed them very, very much.”
August 18, 2017: Romney condemns Trump’s response to Charlottesville
After a white nationalist rally ended with the death of a counter-protester in Charlottesville, Va., Romney criticized Trump’s response, demanding that the president apologize.
“Whether he intended to or not, what [Trump] communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn,” Romney said in a Facebook post. “The president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville.”
In Trump’s response to the violent event, he said there is “blame on both sides.”
February 2018: Trump endorses Romney
Trump endorsed Romney for his U.S. Senate bid, saying he would make a “great Senator.” Romney — who had previously said he would not have accepted Trump’s 2012 endorsement if he knew what he knows now about Trump — thanked Trump for the endorsement.