The criticism of Donald Trump from leading Republican figures is growing more intense.

The party's last two nominees for president, Mitt Romney and John McCain, today called Trump unfit for office and a danger for the nation and the party.

Romney, in a speech in Utah, called Trump a ``phony'' who is ``playing the American public for suckers.''

The 2012 Republican nominee says the only ``serious policy proposals'' for dealing with the nation's challenges are coming from Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich.

McCain, meanwhile, said voters should ``think long and hard about who they want to be our next commander in chief.'' He pointed to the 70 Republican defense and foreign policy leaders who have raised concerns about what they call Trump's ``uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues.''

Adding to the attacks on Trump is House Speaker Paul Ryan, who says ``conservatism is being disfigured'' by some of Trump's ideas and statements.

Trump is responding to Mitt Romney's evisceration of him by noting that that the 2012 GOP presidential nominee begged for Trump's endorsement.

Trump says he could have ``said, `Mitt, drop to your knees.' He would have dropped to his knees.''

Trump was responding to Romney's comments earlier, in which the former nominee and Massachusetts governor warned Republicans that Trump is a fake, a misogynist and dangerous.

Romney, in response, says that if Trump had made some of the same comments four years ago that he's made this year about white supremacists, Muslims, Mexicans and the disabled, Romney wouldn't have accepted his endorsement.

Trump also said during a rally in Portland, Maine, that Romney proved he's a ``choke artist'' when he lost the 2012 presidential race to Barack Obama. He adds that Romney declined to run a third time this year because he was afraid of Trump.

And Trump says he's made more money than Romney.  (Associated Press)