COMMENTARY | Mitt Romney handled Donald Trump's endorsement the way Clark Griswold handled his brother-in-law played by Randy Quaid. The question is why Trump's support is being held at arm's length by the Romney camp.
Trump surprised the media, which initially reported he would back Newt Gingrich. Instead, Romney won the Trump endorsement sweepstakes. Businessman and TV personality Trump even seems "fired up" (no pun intended) about Romney. So why is Romney wincing?
A survey by the Pew Research Center reveals Trump wouldn't help a candidate much in the GOP primary. Only 13 percent said Trump's pick would help, while 20 percent said it would make them less likely to vote for the candidate with Trump's blessing.
Out of all the endorsements, only Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's endorsement was a greater kiss of death among Republicans. Others -- George W. Bush, John McCain and Herman Cain -- fared better with GOP voters for helping a candidate.
The Pew Research Center numbers were even a greater disaster for the candidate saddled with the Trump endorsement in the general direction. Only 8 percent of all voters claimed a Trump backing would make them want to vote for the candidate he supports. Another 28 percent said the Trump endorsement would make them less likely to vote for the candidate he wants. The rest could care less. A Fox News Poll finds otherwise, that Trump's support is going to hurt more than help.
I'm sure Republicans hoping this pick ends the long bloody primary fight, but Romney doesn't look so pleased. Remember that Romney dissed Trump in 2011 when the latter tried to moderate a Republican primary. Romney and several others chose not to attend, while Gingrich actually offered to show up. It's therefore curious that Trump likes Romney more.
Another sign of Romney's tepid support for a Trump endorsement came at the joint event, where Romney spent more time talking about trying to get other endorsements rather than be happy with the one he just received, according to NPR.
That evening, NPR also reported Romney didn't mention being endorsed by Trump. That's not what you would expect from someone happy to get the big Trump support.