SALT LAKE CITY — Mitt Romney said Friday he will vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Utah presidential preference caucus in hopes of launching an effort to deny front-runner Donald Trump the Republican nomination.

Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, posted on Facebook that he would encourage others to vote for Cruz "so that we can have an open convention and nominate a Republican."

In the post, Romney takes more shots at Trump, whom he castigated in a speech in Salt Lake City earlier this month. He said there's a contest going on between "Trumpism" and Republicanism.

"Through the calculated statements of its leader, Trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence. I am repulsed by each and every one of these," he said.

Romney said an open convention is the one remaining path to nominate a Republican other than Trump.

At this stage, he said, the only way to an open convention is for Cruz to be successful in as many of the remaining primary elections and caucuses as possible. He earlier said he would not vote for Trump or Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Trump shot back at Romney on Twitter, calling him a "mixed up man who doesn't have a clue."

"Failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the man who 'choked' and let us all down, is now endorsing Lyin' Ted Cruz. This is good for me!" he tweeted.

Romney said he likes Ohio Gov. John Kasich. "But a vote for Gov. Kasich in future contests makes it extremely likely that Trumpism would prevail," he said.

Romney has campaigned with Kasich, as well as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio before he dropped out after losing his home state primary.

Cruz this week called for Kasich to get out of the race, telling NBC News that it is "mathematically impossible" for the Ohio governor to beat Trump.

The Democratic National Committee blamed Romney for the rise of Trump, saying Romney's "own divisive rhetoric" in 2012 set the stage for the current Republican front-runner’s primary victories.

"Now, like the rest of the GOP establishment, he’s trying to run away from what he helped create by committing to vote for Ted Cruz in a last-ditch attempt to keep the nomination away from Trump," DNC national press secretary Mark Paustenbach said. "But the math doesn’t lie, and Cruz doesn’t even have a 47 percent chance of becoming the nominee."

Romney is scheduled to speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee dinner in Washington, D.C., next Tuesday.

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy