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- Utah’s Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch stood up for 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney Wednesday after he was savaged by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
- “Mitt Romney is a good man,” Lee tweeted.
- “Steve Bannon’s attacks on Governor Romney and his service are disappointing and unjustified,” Hatch wrote.
Both of Utah’s Republican senators issued statements in defense of Mitt Romney on Wednesday morning after former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon blasted the 2012 GOP presidential nominee for not serving in Vietnam during a rally for embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch stood up for Romney after Bannon accused him of hiding behind his Mormon faith to avoid serving in the Vietnam War.
“Mitt Romney is a good man,” Lee tweeted. “Whether you agree or disagree with him on any matter of public policy, you can’t credibly call into question his patriotism or moral character – especially on the basis of his religious beliefs or his outstanding service as a missionary.”
At the same time, Hatch posted his response to Bannon’s “attacks on” Romney, “his family, and our LDS faith.”
“Steve Bannon’s attacks on Governor Romney and his service are disappointing and unjustified,” Hatch wrote. “Mitt is a close personal friend, an honest leader, a great American, and someone who has sought every opportunity possible to serve our country.”
“I also resent anyone attacking any persons religious views, but particularly our own Christian LDS faith and the selfless service of missionary work,” he continued. “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.”
It was during a Tuesday night rally for Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate who last month was hit with allegations that he preyed on teenagers when he was in his 30s, that Bannon took aim at Romney, who recently tweeted that Moore’s election would be a “stain” on the Republican Party.
“You hid behind your religion. You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies in Vietnam,” Bannon said. “Do not talk to me about honor and integrity.”
Bannon additionally blasted Romney’s children for not serving in Afghanistan or Iraq, adding that Moore “has more honor and integrity in a pinky finger” than Romney’s family has “in its whole DNA.”
Bannon, a former Naval officer who is now the executive chairman of Breitbart News, has made similar comments about Romney previously.
His previous boss, President Donald Trump, was an accused draft dodger himself. Trump received five draft deferments, four of which were for education while the fifth, and most well-known, deferment was for bone spurs in his heels.