I just watched former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney deliver a speech denouncing Donald J. Trump, over on Facebook. If you view the video, you’ll see a tactical mistake by Romney’s media team: the camera used to stream the speech online was far away, with quiet audio. (Look at the screencap on this post.) Social media and the Internet was relegated to 2nd class. That’s an unforced error in 2016.
You’re better off reading Romney’s speech here on Medium:
I understand the anger Americans feel today. In the past, our presidents have channeled that anger, and forged it into resolve, into endurance and high purpose, and into the will to defeat the enemies of freedom. Our anger was transformed into energy directed for good.
Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes. He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants, he calls for the use of torture and for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit first amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.
While the text is strong, there’s neither integrated video nor links to the sources for his comments. (Cf. New York State’s lawsuit regarding Trump University.) That’s an incomplete use of the medium for the message.
There was also a glaring omission: Romney did not repudiate Trump’s endorsement of his campaign in 2012 nor the praise he gave to the xenophobic demagogue.
That aside, while Romney’s remarks were both well-crafted and delivered, the audience was unclear to me, as is the impact of today’s speech on the race for the Republican nomination for president. Honestly, this speech came months late, as opposed to before the primaries began, when it would have had a greater impact.
While it’s historically significant that the last two Republican nominees for the presidency have decried the frontrunner, it’s not at all clear to me that they’ll derail Trump’s megalomaniacal march to November, borne on the ugly rhetoric of authoritarianism and bigotry.