Trump strikes back at Romney, GOP establishment in 10 quotes

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump © Karen Pulfer Focht
Donald Trump dismissed Mitt Romney's criticism of him as "irrelevant" and called for voters to ignore the former candidate. The Republican frontrunner also attacked Hillary Clinton, promising he is ready to face her in the general election.

In his usual manner of interspersing  jokes and attacks, Trump emphasized his independence from Wall Street, asked security to throw out four protesters, dismissed lawsuits against him as a regular thing in the business world, and praised himself for being a smart businessman with "good cash flow."

The speech, to a sold-out crowd in Portland, Maine, offered a rambling series of attacks on Romney, Clinton, Trump’s Republican rivals and others. While many of his zingers hit their targets, some bordered on bizarre.

Here are ten Trump quotes that can’t be missed:

“I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees’ and he would have dropped to his knees. He was begging me” to endorse him, Trump said. "Begging me.”

"I ruined my carpet that day... this carpet was wiped out," Trump said, describing a 2012 fundraiser for Romney he organized. "And nobody thanked me for the carpet. Maybe I can send Mitt a bill for 'carpet ruined'."

“He’s a choke artist,” Trump said of Romney. “He choked, and he choked like nobody I’ve ever seen except for [Marco] Rubio in Florida when Chris Christie was grilling him.”

"And Jeb [Bush] convinced [Romney] not to run. Can you imagine? Jeb. Jeb! See, now that he’s out, I’ll say it: He’s a high-energy salesman," Trump said.

“Get him out. They just don't stop. Thank you. Bye bye,” the candidate said, as a second protester was ejected from the rally. “You can be nice, but if you’re nice, you get called soft. If you’re too hard, then you’re vicious. So I've developed a middle ground.”

“We’re going to find out if Arnold [Schwarzenegger] is quick,” Trump said, referring to his replacement host on ‘The Apprentice’. “When you have Omarosa and all the other ones coming at you, you gotta be quick!”

“It’s got an A, an A from the Better Business Bureau. So how do I settle a case like this?” Trump asked, referring to Trump University. When an audience member heckled, he added: “B+ would be okay, but we did better than a B+.”

Hillary Clinton “called me sexist, I hit her with the husband, and that was the last time I ever heard the word sexist,” he said. “That was a rough weekend for them. Bill [Clinton] was not happy. I guarantee you he said, ‘Don’t you ever say that to him again! Say it to somebody else, but not to Trump!’”

"You're gonna get so tired of winning you're gonna say 'please let us have a couple of losses,” Trump said at the end of his speech, promising to “make America great again.”

But much of Trump's speech was dedicated to attacking Romney, hours after the former Massachusetts governor gave a scathing critique of the GOP frontrunner.

“I heard that Mitt Romney made a fairly long speech,” Trump said, as the audience booed. “I’ll just address it quickly because it’s irrelevant.”

“I heard that Mitt Romney made a fairly long speech,” Trump said, as the audience booed. “I’ll just address it quickly b/c it’s irrelevant.”

He then accused the 2012 Republican presidential nominee of being a “failed candidate” and “choke artist” who disappeared at the end of the election. Trump also reminded voters that he had supported Romney in that race, at the candidate’s behest.

Romney hit back in a tweet, saying that he never would have accepted his endorsement had Trump made the divisive statements he has made in 2016.