Donald Trump responds to remarks by former candidate Mitt Romney

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a South Carolina Republican primary night event, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 in Spartanburg, S.C. Trump is the winner in the South Carolina Republican primary. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is calling Mitt Romney a “failed candidate” and “choke artist” who let the party down.

Trump dismissed blistering criticism from the former GOP candidate on Thursday as “irrelevant” while rallying supporters in Maine, which will hold its GOP presidential caucuses on Saturday.

The brash New York real estate developer was introduced by Maine’s brash governor, Republican Paul LePage.

Addressing hundreds at a Portland hotel, LePage praised Trump for being unafraid of lobbyists, special interests and, most of all, “the United States liberal media.”

About 100 people protested Trump’s visit. They held signs that said “Dump Trump” and “Love always trumpshate.”

On Friday, one of Trump’s opponents for the GOP nomination, Ted Cruz, will be paying a visit to the University of Maine.

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