Donald Trump goes off on Mitt Romney at the GOP debate

Screen Shot 2016 02 25 at 8.56.16 PMCNN/screenshotMarco Rubio, left, and Donald Trump at the debate.

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump started ripping Mitt Romney the moment the 2012 GOP nominee’s name was mentioned at Thursday night’s primary debate.

As the candidates traded fierce blows over immigration policy, Sen. Marco Rubio pointed out that Trump criticised Romney for using the term “self-deportation.”

Rubio was suggesting it was a shift for Trump to take such a fierce tone on illegal immigration today.

“I criticised Mitt Romney for losing that election. He should have won that election,” Trump shot back.

“He ran a terrible campaign,” he added. “He was a terrible candidate. That’s what I criticised Mitt Romney [for]. He ran one terrible campaign! That’s an election that should have been won.”

Rubio noted that it was “on the record” that Trump appeared to criticise Romney from the left on the “self-deportation” issue during the 2012 race. At the time, Trump was quoted calling the term “mean-spirited” and said it cost Romney votes from Hispanics.

Trump has made his hard-line stance against illegal immigration the centrepiece of his 2016 bid.

He and Romney have been increasingly sparring in recent days. Trump has suggested that Romney was waiting to endorse Rubio.

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