Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE may be hurting his 2016 chances with some of his remarks, says 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDefense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' GOP rallies around Manchin, Sinema MORE.
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 Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge 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."