Mitt Romney Confident Donald Trump Won't Be GOP Nominee

PHOTO: Mitt Romney speaks to fellow Republicans at a dinner during the Republican National Committees Annual Winter Meeting aboard the USS Midway, Jan. 16, 2015, in San Diego.Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
Mitt Romney speaks to fellow Republicans at a dinner during the Republican National Committee's Annual Winter Meeting aboard the USS Midway, Jan. 16, 2015, in San Diego.

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, isn't sure who will succeed him as the party’s standard-bearer in 2016, but he can’t imagine it being front-runner Donald Trump.

"I will support the nominee. I don’t think that’s going to be Donald Trump," Romney told Atlantic Editor-in-Chief James Bennett at the Washington Ideas Forum today.

"My party has historically nominated someone who’s a mainstream conservative, and someone who has a foundation of foreign policy that gives people confidence that can guide ship in a state of troubled waters," Romney said, adding that Trump's suggestion on “60 Minutes” that ISIS take over Syria was "absurd and dangerous."

Romney also seemed to repudiate Trump's treatment of his fellow candidates on the trail, noting that what Ronald Reagan called the 11th Commandment - never criticize another Republican - has clearly fallen by the wayside, which he said makes it harder for the party to win the general election. He said Trump's criticism put other candidates in an uncomfortable position because they don’t get anywhere by ignoring the New York real estate mogul.

“They are coming back strong and standing up for themselves,” he said of the other candidates.

As for Trump’s view of Romney, he said in January that the former Massachusetts governor “failed” in the 2012 election.

"He choked,” Trump said at the Iowa Freedom Summit. “He had that election won.”

Romney, who hasn’t made an endorsement, listed John Kasich, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush as mainstream conservatives, adding that Carly Fiorina could fit in that category if she “elucidates more on her policy positions.”

“I think each of them has staked out a territory which is not extreme and so I don’t think I’d conclude it’s impossible to win the general election,” Romney told the Atlantic. “As a matter of fact I think we will win the general election in part because we have such strong and capable people as the ones I’ve mentioned.”