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Mr. Trump, who was in attendance at the dinner, sat through the roasting with a smirk.

At his endorsement announcement on Thursday, Mr. Trump didn’t go into details about why he was backing Mr. Romney, but earlier in the day he told reporters he liked Mr. Romney’s focus on pushing back against China’s trade and monetary practices.

In laying out his economic policies here in Nevada last spring, Mr. Romney had singled out China, saying it was cheating by holding the value of its currency down.

Dave Boyer, reporting from Washington, contributed to this article.