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Amid Donald Trump rise, Romney plans speech on 2016 race

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney spoke at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in 2012.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney spoke at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in 2012.Charles Dharapak/Associated Press/Associated Press

DETROIT — Mitt Romney is planning to give a speech on Thursday morning about the “state of the 2016 presidential race,” a further reflection of the 2012 Republican nominee’s efforts to influence a presidential contest that has been rocked by the rise of Donald Trump.

Romney is planning to speak from the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah at 11:30 a.m., hours before the Republican presidential candidates gather in Michigan for another debate. It also comes two days after Trump swept up many state contests on Super Tuesday, including Massachusetts, where Romney governed for four years.

A source close to Romney said, “this is not an endorsement or announcement of candidacy,” adding that the former Massachusetts governor wanted to speak about “the state of the 2016 presidential race and the choices facing the Republican Party and the country.”

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Romney has been disenchanted by Trump’s rise, and has grown more pointed in his criticism of the front-runner for the nomination that Romney himself captured just four years ago. Last week, Romney raised questions about Trump’s taxes, calling on him to release them soon and suggesting they contained a “bombshell” that was causing him not to release them.

After briefly flirting last year with getting into the 2016 race, Romney has generally stayed out of the politcal fray and tried to assume a role as the GOP’s elder statesman. He has yet to endorse any candidate, although he has had glowing words for US Senator Marco Rubio. Romney has said he would get involved only if there were one candidate he agreed with and one he did not.

While Trump endorsed Romney’s 2012 bid, he has repeatedly criticized Romney for losing the race.


Matt Viser can be reached at matt.viser@globe.com.