Trump on Romney faith remark: It was a joke

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE said on Sunday that he was joking when he questioned Mitt Romney’s faith at a rally in Utah, shocking bystanders.

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“The Mormons are very smart people, and I said it in a joking way, but they can take it any way — you can take it any way you want,” Trump said on ABC’s “This Week."

At a Utah rally Friday, Trump asked the audience “are you sure he’s a Mormon? Are we sure?”

“I don’t think Mitt Romney is a smart person,” Trump added on Sunday. “I never have thought he was a smart person, but the Mormons are very smart people. So I said, are you sure he’s a Mormon? And I’m not going to change it because I think Mitt Romney has proven to be not a smart person.”

Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has denounced the current GOP front-runner as “a fraud” and a “phony."

The former Massachusetts governor said last week that he plans to vote for Trump's rival, Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  Ted Cruz bashes Oprah for 'lecture' on race: 'What utter, racist BS' Senate Democrats prepare seven-figure spending spree in Texas MORE, in Utah's presidential caucuses on Tuesday.

“The only path that remains to nominate a Republican rather than Mr. Trump is to have an open convention. At this stage, the only way we can reach an open convention is for Senator Cruz to be successful in as many of the remaining nominating elections as possible,” Romney wrote on Facebook on Friday.