The Donald Trump Endorsement: What Was Mitt Romney Thinking?

02/02/2012 04:27 pm ET | Updated Apr 03, 2012
  • Dan Collins New York Editor-at-Large, The Huffington Post

If you're making a list of the ten most uncomfortable-looking Americans of 2012, you may want to take a look at the clip of Mitt Romney being endorsed by Donald Trump.

Why did Romney do this? Certainly not to win votes in Nevada. The only message the candidate was sending to this weekend's caucus-goers was that he thinks Nevadans are easily impressed by extremely cheesy publicity stunts.

On behalf of New York, I'm embarrassed. We created this guy. But I don't think any politician with a shred of credibility would imagine that a Donald Trump endorsement would garner any votes in New York.

Or actually, anywhere else. Romney's people must have seen the polls that almost no voters would be impressed by a Trump endorsement, while a great many said they'd be more likely to shun anybody the Donald said he liked.

Why did Romney do this? And on the day after he announced on CNN that he wasn't interested in poor people. Great timing.

What does he think Trump has to offer him? You have to remember that Romney didn't bother to show up to accept Jon Huntsman's endorsement when the former Utah governor dropped out of the presidential race. But he'll be there for Trump, whose only contribution to the campaign was to re-energize the birther movement.

Declaring himself to be "delighted" by this benediction, Romney added, "There are some things you just can't imagine." Right about that, Mitt.

Other than a photo-op that will come to haunt him, it's hard to figure out what Romney got out of this deal. But here's what he lost: the credibility of his elect-me-because-I'm-a-businessman sales pitch.

Romney spent his life and made his fortune buying companies and then turning them over. We will be spending the next nine months debating whether this was a wholesome enterprise that invigorated the economy, or a vulture-like attempt to use borrowed money to drain the resources out of fragile companies and then dump them into the bankruptcy courts.

If you wanted to make your case for the former, the best way to do it would not be to appear on stage with a guy whose money mainly comes from renting out his name, a name blown up to its present circus-balloon expansiveness courtesy of reality television, product placement, and publicity stunts -- like endorsing Mitt Romney.

"I spent my life in the private sector -- maybe not quite as successful as this guy," Romney said, as he accepted the Trump endorsement at the Trump hotel, just a little more than a week before the start of a new season of the Trump reality show, Celebrity Apprentice.

Mitt, you're fired.