Donald Trump officially endorsed Mitt Romney for president, quelling conflicting media reports about which candidate the business mogul would back: Romney or former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Standing beside the former Massachusetts governor at his luxury Las Vegas hotel Thursday, Trump called it his “honor and privilege to endorse Mitt Romney.”
“Mitt is tough, he’s smart, he’s sharp. He’s not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to this country that we love,” Trump said.
Earlier in the day, Trump had said it was Romney’s performance during the GOP debates and his tough stance on China that won him over, the Associated Press reported.
“Governor Romney? Go out and get ’em. You can do it,” Trump said.
Taking the podium following Trump’s announcement, Romney said, “There are some things that you just can’t imagine happening in your life. This is one of them.”
“Being in Donald Trump’s magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight,” he said. “And of course I’m looking forward to the endorsement of the people of Nevada.”
In an interview on Fox News Channel immediately following the announcement, Trump told host Neil Cavuto Romney has “really stepped up” on the issues during the campaign.
Asked whether his endorsement means there is officially no chance of Trump seeking his own presidential bid, Trump said it depends on whether Romney gets the GOP presidential nomination. Trump has repeatedly toyed with the idea of seeking the presidency himself as a third-party candidate.
“If for some reason something happens [and Romney doesn’t get the nomination] then it’s open season,” he said. “[But] I don’t see that happening.”
This post has been updated since it was first published.