Mitt Romney: Donald Trump's 'hurtful, childish' comments will hurt the GOP

Mitt Romney comments on Donald Trump
Mitt Romney comments on Donald Trump

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Story highlights

  • Romney said Trump's comments could ultimately hurt the GOP
  • Trump will not be one of America's "best presidents"
Watch Mitt Romney on Sunday's "State of the Union with Jake Tapper."

Washington (CNN)Despite Donald Trump's success in the polls, Mitt Romney said the Republican front-runner's "hurtful" and "childish" comments are going to make winning the primary and general election difficult for the GOP.

"Donald Trump has said a number of things which are hurtful and he has said that they were childish in some respects and I think will be potentially problematic either in a primary or in a general election if he were to become the nominee," Romney told David Axelrod on Thursday on his podcast "The Axe Files."
The 2012 Republican presidential candidate said Trump's comments about women and Hispanics are going to be the greatest challenge to overcome.
    "Donald Trump is a big megaphone. And I think that some of the things he's said, particularly about Hispanics, will be problematic, certainly for him, if he were to go to the next stage, but for whoever our nominee is," he said. "Now if our nominee happened to be someone like Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush, who have strong Hispanic roots themselves and connections themselves, that might not be as big an issue."
    Romney himself struggled to win Hispanic voters -- most visibly for his comments regarding "self deportation" -- and only collected 27% of the Latino vote, performing worse than Sen. John McCain and George W. Bush did in elections before him.
    And even if Trump wins, he lacks the government experience needed to be one of "the best presidents," Romney said.
    "I frankly think that it is helpful to have someone who has more extensive experience in government and in leadership roles, serving as the leader of our country. You go back a long time to find somebody who had not had any public sector service as a president," he added.
    Romney said the success of the outsiders -- Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina -- suggests Republicans' disappointment with the establishment.
    "It tells us that people in this country are very anxious for dramatic change and are not happy with what's happening in Washington. They want to see something happen. They want to see something get done," Romney said. "And one of Mr. Trump's capabilities is communicating that he can get things done and that's something which people want to see happen."