During a stump speech for Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore, political strategist Steve Bannon took a shot at Mitt Romney and his family, and now Utah political leaders are reacting.
Bannon said that Romney avoided military service because of his religion.
“You hid behind your religion,” he said.
Romney served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France during the late 1960s.
"By the way, Mitt, while we're on the subject of honor and integrity, you avoided service, brother," said Bannon, according to CNN. "Mitt, here's how it is, brother: The college deferments, we can debate that — but you hid behind your religion. You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies in Vietnam."
Bannon slammed Flake and McConnell at Alabama rally for Roy Moore – but saved his most stinging attack for Mitt Romney, who he accused of hiding behind his religion to avoid service in Vietnam. https://t.co/N32wKRW0bh pic.twitter.com/kx00PcRrNf— ABC News (@ABC) December 6, 2017
Bannon’s comments drew reactions from many local leaders, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, who accompanied Trump to Utah on Monday.
Mitt and Ann Romney are two of the most decent, honorable people I have met in public life. They have raised a wonderful and loving family. I am proud to call them friends.— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) December 6, 2017
.@MittRomney and his family are my friends. They love their country, they are participating members of a religion many of our Utah families share. To question their devotion to either is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/xG7qLhQZzy— Mia Love (@MiaBLove) December 6, 2017
Bannon’s comments come after Romney spoke out against Moore, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women.
Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) December 4, 2017
On Monday, President Donald Trump, who has worked alongside Bannon, praised Romney while speaking in Utah, calling the former Massachusetts governor “a good man.”
At the speech on Tuesday night, Bannon also mocked Sen. Jeff Flake, who is also Mormon, during the speech. Flake shared a photo on Twitter of a check he donated to Doug Jones, Moore’s opponent in the Alabama Senate race, according to NBC News.
"C'mon brother, if you're going to write a check, write a check," Bannon said.
Flake has long been a critic of Trump, much like Romney. In fact, Flake told the Deseret News in an exclusive Q&A that he hoped Romney would eventually win a Senate spot and become the major Trump critic.
“Well, I’ll tell you, I’ve encouraged him to run,” he said. “I have. I’ve said that he can make a tremendous impact in the Senate. He could come in with immediate gravitas. People respect him. His political skills and knowledge and experience are certainly well-known, and he could make a tremendous difference.