This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Donald Trump says he was making a joke when he questioned Mitt Romney's Mormon faith during a campaign stop in Salt Lake City on Friday, but in an interview on ABC News' "This Week," he stood by his underlying criticism of the 2012 Republican nominee.
Host George Stephanopoulos pressed Trump during a phone interview, noting that when the Pope questioned Trump's Christianity, the candidate said no leader should question a person's faith. But Trump has on more than one occasion questioned an opponent's faith.
Here is Trump's answer in full:
"Well, with Mitt Romney first of all, with Mitt Romney, I was saying to the Mormons, the Mormons are very smart people, and I said it in a joking way, but they can take it any way you can take it any way you want. The Mormons are very smart people. I know many Mormons.
I don't think Mitt Romney is a smart person. I never have thought he was a smart person. But the Mormons are very smart people.
So I said, 'Are you sure he's a Mormon?'
And I'm not going to change it, because I think Mitt Romney has proven to be not a smart person."
Romney has been one of the most pointed critics of Trump, saying he wouldn't vote for the businessman even if he gets the GOP nomination. He is voting for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Utah's caucuses this Tuesday.