SALT LAKE CITY – It didn’t take long for Donald Trump to fire back at Mitt Romney.
The GOP front-runner held a rally in Portland, Maine Thursday afternoon. Trump used some choice words of his own to address remarks made by Romney in Salt Lake City Thursday, saying Mitt Romney’s speech was irrelevant.
He also characterized Romney’s 2012 presidential run as a disaster and labeled him a choke artist.
“Mitt is a failed candidate," Trump said. "He failed. He failed horribly."
Trump blasted the former Republican candidate’s scathing critique of his credentials and temperament.
“I backed Mitt Romney, I backed him," he said. "You can see how loyal he is. He was begging for my endorsement. I could've said, 'Mitt drop to your knees,' he would've dropped to his knees. He was begging. True.”
Romney expected backlash and Trump poured it on. He reminded the crowd about his “47-percent remark” about the country’s reliance on the government and ridiculed Romney for a disastrous presidential run in 2012.
“See you help somebody and then he turns," Trump said. "Now I will say this, he probably had a right to turn because nobody could have been nastier than me, in getting him not to run, by saying he's a choke artist."
Supporters like Don Peay say the speech helped the front-runner.
“Every time someone comes out against Trump, the vote goes up," Peay said.
Peay runs Trump for President in Utah, a volunteer group that is not affiliated with the Donald Trump campaign. He has supported Mitt Romney in the past, but says Romney failed to connect with blue-collar people.
He believes the answer is Trump. After hearing Romney’s remarks, Peay says the party is in denial about Trump’s success in attracting voters.
“If you're a Republican and you want to expand the party, Trump's done that," he said. "Now the elite need to get in behind Trump and actually win the White House in November.”