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. jay

    Everytime Trump opens his mouth, he is a perfect example as to why the GOP should NOT be in charge of ANYTHING.
    He couldn't get support for his presidential run, yet he thinks his endorsement will have an impact on the people? He is living in his own, delusional, caviar induced coma and needs to wake up and smell the brown bag lunches.

    February 20, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Zoomie

    Middle class America will lose if any republican is elected.

    February 20, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Nothing new here

    Go ahead Donald – do the "Ross Perot" thing, and split the Republican vote.
    Either you or Ron Paul can do it!
    Time to break up the old 2-party system.
    And maybe the folks that truly believe in civil liberties and personal freedoms can finally take this country back.

    February 20, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Johan S

    Santorum has no economic experience and is afraid to say that Obama is kenyan. Trump knows how to run the country like a business. Trump will get back a lot of the money (as oil) spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trump would make the South Koreans pay for protection from the North. Trump would place a 20% tariff on all Chinese goods. Trump oughta run against Obama. I hope he runs!

    February 20, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. Johan S

    Santorum has no economic experience and is afraid to say that Zero is kenyan. Trump knows how to run the country like a business. Trump will get back a lot of the money (as oil) spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trump would make the South Koreans pay for protection from the North. Trump would place a 20% tariff on all Chinese goods. Trump oughta run. I hope he runs!

    February 20, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. rika33

    What a doofus. The GOP takes him seriouisly because of his "business accumen"? A rich clown is still a clown.

    February 20, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. steven pietsch

    anybody who would vote for Romney or against him base on Trump's endoresment is a fool. With that said, he is dead right about Santorum. Obama would roll him in the GE, in fact so much so he will have a mandate as a result!! He is the worst kind of conservative, over reaching on the socail issues and not even a real conservative on the economic ones. He is a governement made man, his "economic plan" would have goverenment to pick the winners (the most Dem of ideas), and voted to raise the debt ceiling 5 times because he voted to raise spending so that the debt ceiling had to be raised!

    February 20, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. don

    The wedge issue campaign strategists(Rove et al) wanted to use the haters' support to win elections and further enrich the rich.
    They did not expect one of the "haters" (Santorum) to actually run an effective campaign.

    Ah Rick, when you do go down, take comfort in knowing it was "just business"

    February 20, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Jilli

    Is Trump really the best person to put out front? It seems to me that Romney really started tanking right after he received the Trump endorsement. I think just about the only people more unlikeable than Romney are Trump and Gingrich, so I have to question the wisdom of using Trump as a pitch man.

    February 20, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Mark

    Chump's at it again?

    February 20, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. John

    Hey Mitt Romney, I would be very nervous if Trump was endorsing me. You sure you want to do that?

    February 20, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. don

    The wedge issue campaign strategists(Rove et al) wanted to use the haters' support to win elections and further enrich the rich. They did not expect one of the "haters" (Santorum) to actually run an effective campaign.

    Ah Rick, when you do go down, take comfort in knowing it was "just business"

    February 20, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The only people that give any creedence to anything The Dump has to say are those that still believe that pyramid schemes are the way to early retirement.
    Obama 2012.

    February 20, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Ramrod

    A ship of fools

    February 20, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. pod

    Ricky scares the pants off all you entitlement junkies....Mitt is a Liberal...Ricky is a true conservative..All you folks on entitlements would need to actually work for your money if he gets in. No more tax the working man and give to the lazy people...Obama is not a shoe in for 2012 by the way...not even close...Once the GOP elect is decided then we shall see in November. You cant beleive polls...only turn outs in November. I think Obama will need to pack up and get out...

    February 20, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. mascmen7

    Santorum does better in polls against Obummer than Romney whose favorability dropped like a rock after Trump endorsed Romney. Poll showed 31% would think less of a candidate if Trump endorsed him. Only 5% would think more highly of a candidate if Trump endorsed him. Trump's endorsement is a killer move for any candidate.

    February 20, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Mike S.

    Santorum is to the Democrats what Trump's endorsement of Romney was to the Republicans: An Obama Landslide.

    February 20, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. lgortman

    Keep it up Rick, Newt is out for sure (he just hasnt come to grips yet) and Romney has people like Trump endorsing him. One thing for sure, as long as Obama isnt relected I could care less which of the three top runners make it. America has seen the CHANGE Obama has made and NONE of it has been good!~

    Veteran for REAL CHANGE!

    February 20, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It appears that the birther, T-Rump, is trying to get his TV comedy show better ratings.

    February 20, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Bill

    Trump.....sit down!!

    February 20, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. Mikiesmonkey

    Trump is SPOT ON!!! As a conservative, I say ... IF voters in the GOP primaries are foolish enough to put forth Rick Santorum as our nominee, then we deserve to get another "four more of Obama" .... and rest assured, that's what we will get. I heard a Dem. Senator say the other day, "Santorum would be our dream candidate to run against." So, yes, the Obama Admin is hoping beyond hope that Santorum is the nominee ... they would love nothing better than to run against this EXTREME FAR RIGHT candidate. Santorum would NEVER, EVER win in November ... he would have ZERO appeal to moderates, independents and disenchanted Dems. MITT ROMNEY IS OUR ONLY HOPE of defeating Obama, folks.

    February 20, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. Dave

    what a blowhard !!

    February 20, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    According to T-Rump, Mittens will do very well by being endorsed by the Donald. So far, that has not been the case.

    February 20, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. HeWontWin

    Sorry, but Trump is right on this one: Ricky boy wouldn't win a national election. He's so far right, he's almost coming back around the circle at this point...

    February 20, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. SkyKing

    How about that!
    I finally agree with Trump on something!
    Easy win in November for the Democrats if Slick Rick is the Republican nominee.
    Think of all the campaign money that can be diverted to shore up Democrats in other races.
    Cool.

    February 20, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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