Trump takes hatchet to Santorum
February 20th, 2012
11:16 AM ET
8 years ago

Trump takes hatchet to Santorum

(CNN) – Donald Trump demonstrated Monday that he has no qualms about going after one of Mitt Romney's chief rivals, Rick Santorum.

"There's nothing - there's no gift, no Christmas gift, that could be given better than Rick Santorum to the Democrats," Trump said in a radio interview which aired in Michigan. Democrats, he continued, "are just salivating at that. And, you know, I don't think they believe it's going to happen. But boy, would they like it to happen because that would be an easy election."

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Michigan votes one week from Tuesday, and Trump is scheduled to take to the state's airwaves daily this week to speak on Romney's behalf.

The perception of electability was a major factor in deciding to endorse Romney, Trump said, and Republicans would be foolish to put forward Santorum as their nominee because "he basically has no chance" of winning.

"Otherwise, what's the whole purpose, what's the purpose of working, working, working, going out voting, doing your thing if the person has no chance of getting elected," Trump said on WSGW Radio of Saginaw, Michigan.

Trump considered a presidential bid himself, then nixed the idea, and in January tossed his endorsement to Mitt Romney. If Santorum were to win the Republican nomination, Trump suggested Monday that he would consider a run.

"If he doesn't, and I hope that doesn't happen," Trump said of a Romney loss, "I would say there's a good possibility that I would do something, yes."

The two have not appeared in public campaigning together since the event announcing the endorsement, but made fundraising phone calls together last week.

Shortly after the endorsement, which took place at a Las Vegas hotel owned by Trump ahead of the Nevada caucuses, Santorum suggested his recommendation carries little weight.

"I'm sure he just wanted some publicity for his casino down in Las Vegas," Santorum said. "I think the people of Nevada are smart enough to figure out who they're going to vote for and it's not going to be based on what Donald Trump recommends."

Also see:

Santorum clarifies 'theology' remark

Santorum rips Obama on social agenda

Gay sheriff resigns Romney role after allegations


Filed under: 2012 • Donald Trump • Michigan • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. Monique Manna

    Well if Santorum thinks people aren't going to vote for Romney because Trump said so he needs to take a second glance. i was speaking to someone the other day and they told me they are voting for Mitt Romney just because Trump endorsed him. Ricky has gotten to high up on the horse and he will come falling down. ANd if Romney loses and Trump jumps in, i will vote for the Donald!

    February 20, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. diridi

    Trump, let me advise you, all the Republican candidates are just plain Idiots...true, true., and true...

    February 20, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. CheeseSteak

    Just great. Now Santorum's s numbers just went up.

    February 20, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. Guess What

    Trump U R Fired, support conservatism and not romney the white obama

    February 20, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. alinnc

    That would be rich. Santorum winning the GOP nomination and then Trump launching an independent bid. Obama would not have to raise another dime for the election. He could just sit and watch those two tear each other to shreds and look like the only adult in the crowd.

    February 20, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. SafeJourney

    The repubs and the GOP/TP are trying to run on social issues and denying women health care because they have NOTHING else.

    February 20, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. TomGI

    Everytime I see Don his hair looks funnier and funnier.

    February 20, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    Isn't this the same man who last year said of Mitt Romney's business skills: " He's made a few nice, small deals"? I guess Darth Trump is petrified his apprentice will lose, and he'll have to deal with someone who's only been married once as the GOP nominee.

    February 20, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Ricke1949

    Trump is why I am no voting for Romney. He is arrogant, rich and thinks the world is his apprentice classroom. Go Rick Go!

    February 20, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Sue

    Uh-oh. He's on to us.

    February 20, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. honeybe

    What an egotistical windbag. What makes him think anyone with half a brain will be swayed by who he endorses.

    February 20, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Vicki Green

    Thanks Mr. Trump for endorsing Mitt Romney. Yov've done well for our democrats. Thanks again.

    February 20, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Terry

    So, this is a "whacko" taking a "whack" at one of his "whack-job" buddy's competitors. I would no more vote for a candidate who is endorsed by Trump than I would vote for Sarah Palin. Sooner or later, the GOP Leadership is going to come to the realization that this current ship of fools is hurting the party. Until then, the Democrats are laughing all of the way to the polling booth.

    February 20, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Guess it is time for the candidates to let loose their attack dogs to do the dirty work. Trump and Governor Christie should do a fine job with the mud slingling and personal attacks.

    February 20, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. Dave

    Trumps an idiot. He needs to spend more time in the mirror perfecting his comb over and less time bashing Santorum!

    February 20, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. gramma nance

    Just another example of the Donald flapping his gums...this man seeks attention in any form. What a complete creep he is...thinking the American people will vote for his candidate because he'endorsed' him! STUPID GOP"ers! Obama 2012!

    February 20, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. Terry

    Attention SNL – Have you thought of holding a GOP Debate with the real ship off fools?

    February 20, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Michigan understands that they don't want a Luddite like Romney and his followers in office. Romney-bots love a man more then their own country. We have enough middle-of-road pencil pushers on the hill we need something better.

    Romney failed at 30% of the businesses he 'attempted' to save. What 30% of the USA are you willing to let fail if you elect a paper pushing Luddite?

    February 20, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. Mark

    Santorum is pandering to the religious fundamentalists, the right-wing core of the Republican party. I'll quote a paragraph from Canadian psychologist Robert Altemeyer's book, "The Authoritarians" which has a wonderful description of the kind people Santorum wants to reach:

    "They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the
    name of that authority and conventional to the point of insisting
    everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They are fearful and
    self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily
    direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led,
    rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts
    and reason and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs.
    They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly
    compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their
    judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times and are often
    hypocrites."

    Altemeyer also makes this observation:

    Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds. They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result.... And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going away.

    February 20, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. Peter

    Trump is correct in this case. Santorum's creepy mix of religion and politics puts him outside of the comfort zone of many mainstream Americans. Ban birth control because it is "wrong"? The USA (not even Israel...the USA!) should bomb Iranian nuke plants? He let slip the phrase "crusade against Islam" at one point. He would go down in flames against Obama.

    February 20, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. Bob

    I've never wanted a headline to be literal so bad in my life

    February 20, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Trump

    Bye bye Romney. Newt 2012

    February 20, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. Rickd

    Trump is an overblown fool and ANYONE that believes in him is a BIGGER fool!

    February 20, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Spencer

    Santorum is even worse than Newt and has no chance against Obama. The GOP needs to wake up.

    February 20, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Sean

    I don't know.... everytime I watch how the GOP elects their front runner.... like they really want Obama to win! Please.... GOP, don't take away choices in this country! Field someone more meaningful to give Obama a good fight!

    February 20, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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