Donald Trump is only 12 days away from likely securing the GOP nomination for president

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated March 03, 2016 01:25 PM
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty

brightcove.createExperiences(); It’s time to start getting real: Donald Trump is only 12 days away from likely securing the GOP nomination for president.

In the final stretch of his initial campaign, Trump is making no apologies for past behavior – and has no plans to before the November elections, as he detailed during an appearance on Today Thursday.

Ahead of the night’s Republican debate, the business magnate said he won’t use pleasantries toward his opponents, as he “can’t act overly presidential because I’m going to have people attacking me from every side.”

“I would have a very, very presidential demeanor when I win, but until such time you have to hit back,” he told Today. “When you hit back, you’re no longer presidential, unfortunately.”

And hit back, he did, after hearing about former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney‘s plans to deride him during a speech at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

“Looks like two-time failed candidate Mitt Romney is going to be telling Republicans how to get elected,” Trump tweeted ahead of Romney’s early morning speech. “Not a good messenger!”

He later added, “I am the only one who can beat Hillary Clinton. I am not a Mitt Romney, who doesn’t know how to win. Hillary wants no part of ‘Trump,’ ” and “Why did Mitt Romney BEG me for my endorsement four years ago?”

When Trump was first made aware of Romney’s plans, he also misspelled President Barack Obama’s name in a Twitter dig, writing, “Just another desperate move by the man who should have easily beaten Barrack Obama.”

The former Gov. of Massachusetts said during his speech that “if we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.”

Romney called Trump dishonest, and named his key traits of “bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny” as a huge problem for America.

“He’s not of the temperament of the kind of stable, thoughtful person we need as leader,” Romney said. “His imagination must not be married to real power.”

Trump, 69, will also face off against another staunch detractor on Thursday: Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.

Kelly will moderate Thursday’s GOP debate – her first time facing Trump since their showdown last August.

The real estate mogul then refused to attend Fox News’ January debate unless Kelly was removed – she wasn’t, and he didn’t.

“Frankly, I have been ready for seven months to move beyond what happened after that August debate,” Kelly told Reuters. “I feel like it’s getting boring. Trump has bigger things to worry about, and so do I.”

Kelly added to Access Hollywood, “I don’t need to be overly tough to prove that I am some sort of tough gal and I don’t want to go easy on him to disprove the people who think I have it in for him.”

Trump also covers Time magazine’s latest issue, which questions, “Can the Republican Party survive him? Can Texas Senator Ted Cruz – or any other Republican – stop him?”

The front image refers to Trump as both a “bully” and a “showman,” as well as a “party crasher” and “demagogue.”

VIDEO: Is Hillary Clinton Intimidated by Donald Trump?

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton made clear in her post-Super-Tuesday rally that, in any general election face-off with Trump, she would use his rhetoric against him. “It really matters when you’re running for president what you say,” she said at the Wednesday night rally in New York City. “And boy does it matter when you are the president!”

Trump embarked for Portland, Maine, Thursday morning, where Republicans will caucus on Saturday.

Also this weekend: the Louisiana primary and Kentucky caucuses.