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How did Mike Pence react to Mitt Romney saying he behaved ‘ungodly’?

Pence says the Utah Republican can ‘go off into retirement’

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Vice President Mike Pence administers the Senate oath of office Mitt Romney in a mock ceremony in in 2019.

Vice President Mike Pence administers the Senate oath of office to Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, accompanied by his wife Ann, during a mock swearing in ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, as the 116th Congress begins.

Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

Mike Pence responded over the weekend to harsh criticism from retiring Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who claimed the former vice president acted “ungodly” in standing by former President Donald Trump during their time in the White House.

Of Pence, a devout Christian, Romney said no one was “more loyal, more willing to smile when he saw absurdities, more willing to ascribe God’s will to things that were ungodly than Mike Pence.”

McKay Coppins revealed the comment in an excerpt of his new book, “Romney: A Reckoning,” published in The Atlantic last week.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Jake Tapper asked Pence to respond Sunday to Romney’s assertion, asking, “Do you think that you used your faith to justify ungodly things as vice president?”

“Look, Mitt Romney has no idea what I was doing in the administration. I haven’t talked to Mitt Romney for years. I think he can go off into retirement. I know that he was even critical of his old running mate Paul Ryan in the pages of that book,” said Pence, a longshot Republican candidate for president in 2024.

“I know the stands that we took. I know the stands that we maintained. I’ll always believe that we were called to that fight and I believe in this moment that my family’s called now to step forward here in Iowa.”

Like Pence, Romney, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, isn’t shy about his religion. Romney also isn’t shy about calling out Trump.

Pence defended Trump’s record as president on CNN.

“When that phone rang in 2016, my wife and I went to prayer about the invitation to join the national ticket. I believe that we were called to serve and I’m incredibly proud of the record of the Trump-Pence administration. In just those four short years, we rebuilt our military, revived our economy and appointed three conservatives to our courts that gave us a new beginning for the right to life,” he said.

Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, announced last week that he would not seek reelection to a second term in the Senate.

Coppins wrote in the book that Ryan called Romney to caution him against voting to convict Trump in the first impeachment trial to maintain viability with Republicans. Romney was the first senator to convict a president in his own party.