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Romney warns voters: Trump nomination 'enables' Clinton presidency

In this Jan. 16, 2015, file photo, Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential nominee, speaks during the Republican National Committee's winter meeting aboard the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. Romney charged into the increasingly divisive 2016 GOP White House sweepstakes Thursday, March 3, 2016, with a harsh takedown of front-runner Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney delivered a scathing warning against a Donald Trump nomination on Thursday morning, cautioning voters about the many dangers of the billionaire's proposed leadership styles.

"If we make the right choices, America's future will be even better than our past and better than our present," Romney told the crowd.

If Republicans choose Trump as their nominee, Romney warned, the prospects of the "bright horizon" ahead will be diminished.

To further explain, Romney said that if Trump's plans for the economy were implemented "the country would sink into prolonged recession."

Trump's "tariff-like penalties would instigate a trade war," Romney said, "that would raise prices for consumers," kill our export jobs and cause entrepreneurs to leave the U.S.

"His tax plan, in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and to honestly address spending, would balloon the deficit and the national debt," Romney described.

"So even though Donald Trump has offered very few specific economic plans, what little he has said is enough to know that he would be very bad for American workers and American families."

Romney acknowledged the obvious question, of whether Trump is a "huge business success," who knows what he's talking about.

"No he isn't, and no he doesn't."

Romney described how Trump's bankruptcies had "crushed" small business.

Describing Trump Airlines, Trump University, Trump Vodka and other failed business ventures, Romney said "a business genius he is not."

Romney acknowledged that some of Trump's policies are not flawed. Citing his desire to bring jobs back to the U.S. and repeal Obamacare, Romney said Trump's implementations of those changes are not solid.

Romney mentioned the other three candidates in the race, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, saying, "one of these men should be our nominee."

While Romney acknowledged that "some people want the race to be over," he noted the "rules of political history have pretty much all been shredded during this campaign."

The severe tone of Romney's speech was no surprise, as leaked transcripts indicated he was planning on taking aim at Trump.

While Romney's strong words are meant to stop what has become an increasingly likely Trump candidacy, many raised questions as to whether his speech would effectively dissuade voters from supporting the billionaire-turned-candidate.

"It was unclear what impact his words would have with voters deeply frustrated by their party's leaders," The Associated Press' Steve Peoples and Brady McCombs wrote.

Also undermining Romney's words are his past.

Four years ago, the two men stood side by side in Las Vegas, with Trump saying it was a "real honor and privilege" to endorse Romney's White House bid, Peoples and McCombs reported.

Accepting, Romney said it was a "delight" to have Trump on his side and praised him for ability to "understand how our economy works and to create jobs for the American people."

Countering the expected attack from Romney, Trump has cited the 2012 campaign.

"He begged me four years ago for my endorsement, he's a failed candidate," Trump reportedly said on The Today Show.

As Politico described, "Trump doubled down on his comments" during another phone interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"First of all, he's a man who, as you know, begged me, and I mean begged me, for my endorsement four years ago," Trump said.

"He failed in his campaign, it was a horribly run campaign. Republicans didn't even go out to vote, he was a disaster the last month, month and a half, he wasn't on television, it was almost like he was lost, and he ran one of the worst campaigns in presidential history."

"That was an election that should have been won by the Republicans," Trump remarked.

One thing Romney and Trump seem to agree on is that this election is one that needs to be won by a Republican candidate.

Ahead of Romney's address, NBC News wrote that Romney would "spare no punches in criticizing Hillary Clinton, accusing her of compromising national secrets and diminishing America's interests worldwide during her tenure at the State Department."

"A person so untrustworthy and dishonest as Hillary Clinton must not become president," Romney said, delivering one of the lines that had been leaked.

While Trump has often made a similar argument, Romney's next sentence differs immensely from Trump's entire campaign: "A Trump nomination enables her victory."

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