2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney will deliver a speech in Utah Thursday on the state of the GOP race in 2016. While he won’t endorse—or jump in himself—he will join the chorus of Republicans arguing that front-runner Donald Trump is an unacceptable choice.
“Here’s what I know,” Romney will say. “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. 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 … His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgement to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.”
Romney’s comments come as part of a last-ditch effort by Republicans to derail Trump before the winner-take-all races on March 15. Romney won’t endorse any of the three remaining candidates, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich, but will say they are all qualified for the job.
As the race grows more heated, the four candidates will face off in Detroit Thursday night for yet another debate—and the first since increasingly personal insults have been flying. Ben Carson awakened to what has been clear for months—he had no path to the nomination—and he will not appear on the debate stage.
Here are your must-reads:
Donald Trump’s Wild Ride
As he piles up GOP delegates, the nation braces for a very difficult 2016 TIME’s David Von Drehle writes
Inside the Republican Plan to Stop Trump
The last ditch effort is just getting off the ground [TIME]
Democrats Salivate—and Shudder—at the Prospect of Trump
TIME’s Jay Newton-Small on their glee and uncertainty
Donald Trump: Tribal Warrior
How does he win? Divide and conquer, TIME’s Alex Altman reports
Justice Dept. Grants Immunity to Staffer Who Set Up Clinton Email Server
Former aide is now cooperating with law enforcement [Washington Post]
“Donald Trump says he admires Vladimir Putin, while has called George W Bush a liar. That is a twisted example of evil trumping good.” — From Mitt Romney’s prepared remarks in Utah
“I will support the Republican nominee. Period. The end.” — Ted Cruz on CNN breaking with a growing movement of Republicans who say they’d never vote for Trump
Bits and Bites
White House Is Said to Be Vetting Iowa Judge for Supreme Court Seat [New York Times]