Republican strategist Karl Rove panned Mitt Romney's anti-Trump speech in an interview that aired on Michigan local radio's Big Show on Tuesday.
Romney called Trump a "phony" and a "fraud" in a speech last week. Trump hit back, calling Romney a "failed candidate" who should have won in 2012.
"It was the wrong message from the wrong messenger on the wrong day," said Rove. "This was the day of the debate, so it's going to get overwhelmed largely by last night. I thought the speech was good but not great, and it gave Trump a chance to come back and remind his supporters of the thing that motivates them, which is Romney lost."
"With Donald Trump supporters, this sense of aggrievement that we could have won — which a lot of Republicans feel, me included and it would have much better for the country if we had won, it is an important touchpoint for his supporters," he said.
"Here's what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University," he said. "He's playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat."