Top Utah GOP Lawmakers Clap Back At Bannon After He Attacks Romney

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, speaks to reporters following a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Three Utah Republican lawmakers jumped to Mitt Romney’s defense on Wednesday after Steve Bannon accused Romney of hiding behind his religion to avoid in the Vietnam War.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) blasted Bannon for attacking Romney’s religion and missionary work and offered to discuss the LDS Church with the former White House advisor.

“Steve Bannon’s attacks on Governor Romney and his service are disappointing and unjustified. Mitt is a close personal friend, an honest leader, a great American, and someone who has sought every opportunity possible to serve our country,” Hatch said in a statement. “I also resent anyone attacking any persons religious views, but particularly our own Christian LDS faith and the selfless service of missionary work. I’d be more than happy to sit down with Mr. Bannon and help him understand more about the LDS Church at his convenience. I’ve got a copy of the Book of Mormon with his name on it.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) also knocked Bannon for questioning Romney’s character, particularly on the basis of his religion.

Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also chimed in, defending Romney and telling Bannon to stay out of Utah politics.

During a rally for GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore Tuesday night, Bannon attacked Romney for not serving in the Vietnam War.

“You hid behind your religion. You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies in Vietnam. Do not talk to me about honor and integrity,” Bannon said.

He made the comment in response to a Monday tweet from Romney, who suggested the Republican Party is losing its “honor” and “integrity” by backing Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women.

Bannon reportedly wants to keep Romney, who may run for Senate in Utah if Hatch retires, out of Congress. He has reportedly considered endorsing Hatch as part of a plan to fend off Romney, who is a vocal Trump critic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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