Washington, Mar 4: US Republican front runner Donald Trump on Thursday came under a brutal attack from party's former presidential nominee Mitt Romney who called him "phony and a fraud", alleging that "dishonesty" is the hallmark of the real estate tycoon.
"There's plenty of evidence that Trump is a con man, a fake. Trump has changed his positions not just over the years, but over the course of the campaign," he said.
"We will only really know if he's a real deal or a phony if he releases his tax returns and the tape of his interview with the New York Times. I predict that there are more bombshells in his tax returns. I predict that he doesn't give much, if anything, to the disabled and to our veterans. I predict that he told the New York Times that his immigration talk is just that talk," he said.
In a rare speech, Romney gave a clarion call to his party men not to let Trump become the presidential nominee as he is the "wrong person" to lead the party and the country.
"Here's what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud," Romney said.
Romney, who was defeated by President Barack Obama in his 2012 re-election, joins a growing chorus of anxious Republican leaders who appeared to have ganged up against Trump in a last ditch effort to prevent him from becoming the nominee for the November presidential poll.
Trump so far has won 10 of the 16 States where Republican primaries and caucus have been held in the last one month and has a substantial lead in terms of number of delegates as against the three other major Republican candidates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich.
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Claiming that there is a "bombshell" to hide in the Trump's tax returns, which he has not released it so far, Romney said Trump's nomination would only help Hillary Clinton become the next president of the United States.
Trump so far has won 10 of the 16 States where primaries and caucus were held
Romney alleged "dishonesty" is Trump's hallmark. "He claimed that he had spoken clearly and boldly against going into Iraq. Wrong. He spoke in favour of invading Iraq. He said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. Wrong. He saw no such thing. He imagined it," he said.
"He's not of the temperament of the kind of stable, thoughtful person we need as a leader. His imagination must not be married to real power. The president of the United States has long been the leader of the free world," he said.
Think of Trump's personal qualities, Romney urged his party men. "The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. You know, we have long referred to him as 'The Donald'," he said.
"He's the only person in the entire country to whom we have added an article before his name, and it was not because he had attributes we admired," he said.