Why In The World Would Romney Accept Trump’s Endorsement?

Why is the Republican frontrunner pandering to a megalomanical showman?

After initial reports this morning that he’d be endorsing Newt Gingrich, it’s now basically certain that Donald Trump will be endorsing Mitt Romney in a press conference later today in Las Vegas:

LAS VEGAS — Donald Trump will endorse Mitt Romney for president Thursday afternoon, campaign sources confirmed.

The real-estate mogul and reality TV star will bestow his blessing on Romney at a Trump casino here at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. Trump’s support comes after the businessman heavily flirted with a presidential run himself, then played host as the GOP presidential candidates paraded to his New York office for meetings.

Trump’s seal of approval is not without risk for Romney. When Trump toyed with a candidacy of his own last spring, his popularity was fueled by questioning President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, an issue Romney has steadfastly avoided.

Not to mention that Trump is a highly polarizing figure, even among Republicans:

Although the event is sure to receive media attention, Americans remain divided in their opinions of the reality star.

Trump received a 50% favorable and 45% unfavorable rating among Republican voters and a 64% unfavorable and 31% favorable rating among all voters, according to a CNN/ORC poll taken in April and May.

So, what’s the upside for Romney here? There’s no real “Donald Trump” constituency inside the GOP, and it’s not like he needs Trump’s support to win the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.

Perhaps Romney’s campaign advisers know better than me, perhaps they think that the media attention that their candidate will receive from this endorsement, which is guaranteed to be as much of a media circus as everything else involving Trump, will be more of a benefit than any risk of having him associated with someone that so many people consider, well, a pompous jerk. They’re the professionals, after all, surely they’ve actually given this one some though.

Right?

One other thought. Two weeks ago in South Carolina Romney didn’t bother to attend the press conference that Jon Huntsman, a former Ambassador and Governor, held when he endorsed Mitt, but today he will stand beside the biggest pompous showman since P.T. Barnum in a Las Vegas casino to receive his endorsement. Without question, the press conference will be more about Trump and the upcoming premiere of his dumb reality show than it will be about Romney. You’ve also got to think that at least one reporter is going to ask Mitt what he thinks about Trump’s continued insistence on pushing nonsense theories about the Presidency eligibility to hold office. That strikes me as a really strange set of priorities right there.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    I see no harm in “accepting” the endorsement. Indeed, it would be ungracious to do otherwise; Trump’s an ass, but he’s not David Duke. OTOH, I don’t get why he’d actually show up in person and further solidify his rich guy image, especially when he didn’t do so for the Huntsman endorsement.

  2. Hoyticus says:

    The Romney campaign probably wants campaign money from Trump and media attention. However if this somehow damages Romney’s campaign I want everyone to call it “Trumpeterian Campaign Destruction”

  3. Dustin says:

    Romney has become a caricature of a pompous rich man, it seems only appropriate that he would accept the endorsement of the living embodiment of said caricature.

  4. @James Joyner:

    I suppose it’s the showing up at the press conference media circus we will no doubt see later today that I don’t get. No doubt, it will be replayed endlessly on CNN and MSNBC and lampooned on The Daily Show and Colbert. What’s the value to Romney in that? I don’t get it. Then, again, I don’t get the logic behind half the decisions the campaigns have made this election cycle.

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    All publicity is good publicity? Maybe? But watching these two plastered all over the evening news isn’t going to be pretty.

  6. Moosebreath says:

    The simplest answer is the best. Trump, when he was thinking about running, had a following among the mouth-breathers who think Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya. These are people Romney is having trouble closing the deal with. No doubt Romney thinks having Romney endorsed by Trump will make a larger number of people who supported Trump support Romney than those who would otherwise have supported Romney but were turned off by Trump.

  7. JBJB says:

    Seems it might be about stomping on Newts neck?

  8. Terrye says:

    What is Romney supposed to do? Tell Trump to shove it..there is a difference between accepting an endorsement and pandering for an endorsement..It was not all that long ago when Drudge ran the headline “Romney will not kiss the ring” because Romney did not want to do a Trump debate..It is not as if Romney is in the habit of doing what Trump wants him to do.

  9. David M says:

    Trump is a clown, and this seems like something one of the joke candidates should be doing rather than the supposed nominee. Does he also have a book he’s trying to get publicity for?

  10. legion says:

    Well, given the flip-flop (pardon the joke) on the focus of Trump’s announcement, I would guess that, once they realized he was on the market, the Romney camp made Trump a better offer. As to why Romney would even want such a tainted thing as Trump’s endorsement, I would suggest that the most likely explanation is that Romney thinks Trump will appeal to those 99%’ers who do such pedestrian things as watch popular tv shows, etc. This smacks of an out-of-touch parent trying to “talk street” to connect with his kids…

  11. mike says:

    He doesn’t want Newt cornering the market on voters who cheat on their wives and get married multiple times.

  12. anjin-san says:

    What is Romney supposed to do? Tell Trump to shove it

    Only if he wants to be taken seriously.

  13. PJ says:

    @James Joyner:

    I see no harm in “accepting” the endorsement. Indeed, it would be ungracious to do otherwise; Trump’s an ass, but he’s not David Duke.

    I’d argue the standards for accepting an endorsement should be quite a bit higher than the endorser not being David Duke.

    But really, the fact that Romney is accepting Trump’s endorsement and willing to appear with him says a lot more about the Republican Party and its members than Romney.
    Romney is just his own regular self willing to change views and pamper to get the nomination.

  14. fallibilist says:

    Here’s my guess in the “What’s the Logic?” game:

    Romney’s people have decided he really stepped in it with the “I don’t care about the very poor” remark. They are desperate for something–anything–to get the attention off this idiotic and damaging remark. What could be better for a circus distraction then a gen-u-wine carnival barker?

  15. PJ says:

    @Terrye:

    What is Romney supposed to do?

    Ignore him?

    It’s not like Romney has to accept or even acknowledge every endorsement he gets.

  16. EddieInCA says:

    A rich guy running for President is having problems connecting to voters because he’s a rich guy who is out of touch with voters, so he gets the endorsement of another rich guy who is out of touch with most voters, and on top of that is a serial adulterer, has been married three times, is a birther, and has screwed investors over and over again in his career.

    How many votes does Romney think a Trump endorsement is worth?

    I have the over/under at about…. 6.

    This endorsement isn’t worth the derision he’s going to get tonight on The Daily Show and Colbert.

  17. PJ says:

    Didn’t one of Romney’s kids show some interest in birtherism? Maybe Trump demanded to appear with Romney in exchange to teach the kid the more advanced stuff?

  18. Romney’s son made a dumb joke that he apologized for, he didn’t “express an interest in birtherism”

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    You’ve also got to think that at least one reporter is going to ask Mitt what he thinks about Trump’s continued insistence on pushing nonsense theories about the Presidency eligibility to hold office.

    heh. Heehee. HeeheeehahahaHAHAHAHAheeeheehee…

    Doug, you crack me up sometimes. A journalist…. committing Journalism. That’ll be the day.

  20. legion says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Especially when there’s at least as much logic behind questioning _Romney’s_ citizenship, considering his grandfather snuck back into the US from Mexico illegally… I would pay good money to see someone ask that question with both of them on the same stage…

  21. merl says:

    romney would consign his wife to hell and become a baptist so he can be president. he is a slimy panderer who deserves to lose.

  22. Barb Hartwell says:

    Well we have Ann Coulter defending Romney care now They need to embrace what they feel is the inevitable. Romney the scum that rose to the top needs to accept all the support he can get.

  23. Just 'nuta ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Joyner: @Doug Mataconis:

    I don’t get why he’d actually show up in person and further solidify his rich guy image, especially when he didn’t do so for the Huntsman endorsement.

    Umm, because he’s tone deaf?
    @Moosebreath: I actually can see your reasoning, but I’m not certain that even the Trumpers are THAT credulous.

  24. Fiona says:

    I’ll never understand why Republicans feel compelled to lick Trump’s boots. Romney showed up, wife in tow, to Trump’s territory in Vegas, where even the podium screamed “TRUMP,” to get the “great” man’s blessing. The performance was nauseating.

    I guess in the Republican Party, big money worships even bigger money.