By Jesse Byrnes
Romney: Trump's 'hurtful' comments don't help him
Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJohnson faces tough crowd at Libertarian debate Sanders: Primary isn't 'rigged,' just 'dumb' Trump University judge to unseal documents MORE may be hurting his 2016 chances with some of his remarks, says 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Romney, whom Trump has repeatedly criticized for blowing a winnable election against Barack Obama, chided the GOP front-runner for hurtful and childish remarks.
"I think Donald Trump has said a number of things which are hurtful, and he has said 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 said in an interview with Democratic strategist David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Obama.
"I think he'll have some challenges if he proceeds to the next stage," Romney said, mentioning Trump's comments on women and Hispanics during the hourlong interview Thursday on "The Axe Files" University of Chicago Institute of Politics podcast.
Romney said late last month that he didn't think Trump would be the Republican nominee. But the billionaire real estate tycoon continues to lead the crowded GOP field in polls.
Asked Thursday if Trump's comments taint the Republican Party, Romney said, "Yeah, I think to a degree it does," noting that if someone like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the GOP nominee, the comments on Hispanics might damage the party less.
Romney also weighed in during the Axelrod interview on another race for Republicans: Speaker of the House, a position many Republicans hope Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanDole: Gingrich should be Trump's running mate In House GOP, Ryan endorsement of Trump seen as inevitable Meet the billionaire donor behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker MORE (R-Wis.), Romney's 2012 vice presidential pick, seeks. But the position could hurt Ryan's chances to run for president one day. He currently chairs the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
"As you know, I'm a big fan of Paul Ryan, I think he's an extraordinary individual with great capacity. Would love to see [in] any leadership role he wanted to take," Romney said, clarifying, "I didn't say I wanted him as Speaker of the House, I said any role he'd like to take."
"In some respects, he's the kind of person I'd like to see as president some day some day. And I'm not sure being Speaker of the House opens the pathway to the presidency or closes it off."