Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) is calling former Trump aide Stephen Bannon a “Mormon bigot” over his comments attacking former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Herbert made the remark in response to Bannon’s Tuesday night comment that Romney “hid behind” his Mormon religion to avoid serving in Vietnam.
“This smacks of good old-fashioned Mormon bigotry,” Herbert said on KSL Newsradio, according to the Deseret News. “I think that’s what Steve Bannon has demonstrated with his comment, is just he’s a Mormon bigot.”
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Bannon made the comment at a rally for GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, criticizing Romney for denouncing Moore, who faces multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, including assault. He homed in on the missionary deferment that Romney received during the Vietnam War.
“You hid behind your religion,” Bannon said. “You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies in Vietnam.”
The comments came a day after Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, said Moore would be “a stain” on the Senate if he’s elected.
Herbert said that Bannon’s attacks on Romney translate to attacks on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), noting that fewer missionaries were sent out during the Vietnam War because the church was “sensitive about the fact that we had a draft and a war going on and wanted to make sure that we did our part.”
“[Bannon] clearly has no idea what it’s like to serve on a two-year LDS mission in a far-away land,” he said. “There’s more than one way to, in fact, go out there and do good things for your fellow man.”
Herbert’s comments echoed those of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who said earlier Wednesday that he “resents” attacks on the Mormon faith and “the selfless service of missionary work.”