Donald Trump has branded Mitt Romney “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics”.
Mr Romney has raised questions about Mr Trump’s tax affairs, saying the favourite to win the Republican presidential nomination is bound to have a “bombshell” in his tax records.
“The reason I think there is a bombshell in there is because every time he is asked about his taxes, he dodges and delays and says: ‘Well we’re working on it,’ ” said Mr Romney.
He added that all the candidates should release their tax records.
Mr Trump tweeted in response: “Mitt Romney, who totally blew an election that should have been won and whose tax returns made him look like a fool, is now playing tough guy.”
The former Massachusetts governor had told Fox News: “I think there’s something there... either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying the taxes we would expect him to pay or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to vets or to the disabled like he’s been telling us he’s been doing.”
Mr Trump blasted on social media: “When Mitt Romney asked me for my endorsement last time around, he was so awkward and goofy that we all should have known he could not win!”
Mr Trump took centre stage at a debate in Houston last night, with time running out on his remaining rivals to change a race rapidly tilting away from them.
Mr Trump, 69, had already won three of the first four contests in the nomination fight for the November 8 election.
After easily defeating his rivals in Nevada on Tuesday, the New York billionaire businessman is in position for more victories on March 1, when a dozen states will vote on ‘Super Tuesday’.
“Trump is on cruise control,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a former senior adviser to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
“It’s getting late in the game for everyone else. People who are expecting a sudden shift in the direction of the race are deluding themselves. Trump is Goliath, and we’ve seen enough of the other candidates to know there are no Davids in this field.”
Meanwhile, Mr Trump called rival Ted Cruz “the single biggest liar I have ever dealt with” and a baby.
“I’ve met much tougher people than Ted Cruz,” the GOP frontrunner told fans. “He is like a baby compared to some of the people I have to deal with. He is like a little baby, soft, weak, little baby by comparison.”
Mr Cruz threw a counter punch at Mr Trump by likening him to the character Fat Bastard, a villain from the Austin Powers films.
Mr Cruz tweeted at Mr Trump: “Showing class & grace, calls me a “soft weak little baby.” Hope he doesn’t try to eat me!”
The post included a clip from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, where Fat Bastard threatens to eat Mini-Me, whom he calls a baby and tells him: “Get in my belly!”
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