Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort fires back: Romney's a "coward" and a "sore loser"

The key bit comes at 1:55 of the clip below. I don’t begrudge Manafort sticking up for his boss, especially after Romney brutalized him in that CNN interview on Friday, but is this wise?

Conservatives’ unrest with Trump was on display at Romney’s annual donor retreat in Utah this weekend, where Meg Whitman compared Trump to Adolf Hitler.

“I think they’re sitting in their cocoon, you know, away from the reality of the world,” Manafort said, rejecting the Hitler comparison and calling Romney’s allies “sore losers.”

“You know, Romney wanted to run, chose not to. He’s now attacking this past weekend all the other Republican who ran for president as well, saying they should have done a better job. Well, if he feels that way he should have run. He was a coward,” he said.

Romney running as an independent at this point is a thousand-to-one shot (he reiterated on Friday that he won’t do it), but if anything might shrink those odds, taunting him as gutless for not jumping in might. Worse than that, it risks alienating some of Romney’s rich buddies, who are stuck right now trying to decide what to do when Trump comes begging for money. There were pro-Trump voices in the crowd at Mitt’s donor summit this weekend. “We’ve got to get behind him,” said one attendee during a Q&A with Mitt. “These are the cards we’ve been dealt.” What happens to fencesitters when they turn on ABC this morning to find Manafort dismissing their friends as a weak punk, or when they tune into Trump’s next rally and discover him ripping on Romney instead of Hillary?

Romney’s donor network could be a great help to Trump in catching up to Hillary with fundraising. And he needs help. A lot of it. And fast.

Spencer Zwick, the much-praised Republican finance operative who led Romney’s efforts, said raising $500 million was doable. But Zwick, like several other Republican fund-raisers here, asserted that Trump needed to significantly quicken his fund-raising clip before the convention, after which he will have little time for fund-raising…

And his campaign does not seem urgent, although he would need to raise more than $80 million a month to meet the $500 million mark. After missing out on the windfall of low-dollar cash that could’ve come Trump’s way after each of his primary victories, his campaign is not set to launch a low-dollar digital fund-raising operation until around the Republican convention in mid-July, according to a person with knowledge of the plan…

Meanwhile, the Trump high-dollar fund-raising operation is showing signs of duress, people here say. A joint fund-raising agreement was hatched last month to split proceeds between the RNC and the Trump campaign. And while the first joint fund-raisers have gone well, RNC chair Reince Priebus has phoned some associates expressing frustration that Trump wants to direct dollars to his own ambitious plans, according to a person who has spoken directly with Priebus, which includes quixotic bids to win deep blue states like California and New York.

That last bit is a nice segue to the new poll out of Utah this morning: Trump 35, Clinton 35, Gary Johnson 13. Trump’s unfavorable rating there is 65 percent, just two points better than Hillary’s. Utah has always been his toughest red state (Cruz topped him in the primary there by, uh, 55 points) thanks to widespread skepticism of Trump among Mormon voters. A war of words with the first Mormon nominee for president should help Trump and Manafort turn those frowns upside down, don’t you think? If ever there was a moment for Trump to kill an adversary with kindness rather than resorting to the usual slap fight, this moment with Romney is it.

A Twitter pal snarked in response to the Utah poll this morning, “No big deal, he’s got New York and California as a firewall.” Exit question: Never mind the Utah poll. Is … this the most revealing election poll in America right now? Wresting control of the White House from a party when the president has a job approval rating of 54 percent is an awfully heavy lift.