The Republicans trashing Gov. Mitt Romney now are the same ones vying for cabinet positions, a former top Romney adviser said Wednesday.
Former Romney foreign policy adviser Dan Senor on Morning Joe Wednesday criticized several unnamed “Republican officials” for trashing the former candidate.
“The Friday night before the election we went to Cincinnati. Tens of thousands of people. You could feel the energy. One hundred top-tier surrogates at the event. I’m backstage with some of them, won’t mention their names, but they’re talking about Romney like he’s Reagan. The debate performances – the best of any Republican nominee and presidential history – this guy is iconic. [They were] talking about him because they believed he was going to win in four or five days. Some of them were already talking to our transition, to position themselves for a Romney cabinet.”
The Cincinnati rally in question featured a number of top Republicans, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, all former Romney surrogates who have since spoken out against the candidate in the aftermath of his loss.
Jindal condemned Romney the most, slamming him for saying the president bought the election with “financial gifts” to voters.
No, I think that’s absolutely wrong,” he said at a press conference. “Two points on that: One, we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote. And, secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education. … So, I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that’s absolutely wrong.
Sen. Marco Rubio, who is already rumored to be eying a 2016 run, also spoke out against the remarks, but was less harsh.
"I don’t want to rebut him point by point," Rubio said of Romney. "I would just say to you, I don’t believe that we have millions and millions of people in this country that don’t want to work. I’m not saying that’s what he said. I think we have millions of people in this country that are out of work and are dependent on the government because they can't find a job."
Ayotte also sought to distance herself from Romney's post-election comments, but took a softer approach to her criticism.
“I don’t know what the context fully was,” Ayotte said Thursday on msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. “I don’t agree with the comments. I think the campaign is over, and what the voters are looking for us to do is to accept their votes and then go forward, and we’ve got some big challenges that need to be resolved.”
"Five or six days later, they were absolutely eviscerating him," Senor said. “Many of these officials, I might add, chose to stay out of it. They chose not to run."
But Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough says this about-face is a reflection of Romney's sore grapes.
“If Mitt Romney, if he had gone quietly into the night, would not have been pounded as hard," Scarborough said. "But Mitt Romney comes out and doubles down on his 47% remarks, when he confirms everybody’s worst suspicions."