Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Utah Governor Gary Herbert are lashing out at former White House adviser Steve Bannon for his attack on Mitt Romney and the Mormon Church.
At a rally Tuesday for GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, Bannon called the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee a draft dodger who “hid behind” his religion. Romney received a draft deferment for missionary work in France during Vietnam.
In a Wednesday statement, Hatch called Bannon’s attack “disappointing and unjustified.” Hatch said Romney “has sought every opportunity” to serve the country.
Hatch, who is Mormon, denounced attacks on “our own Christian LDS faith and the selfless service of missionary work.”
Hatch he’d be happy to explain his church to Bannon, adding, “I’ve got a copy of the Book of Mormon with his name on it.”
On Herbert’s personal Facebook page, he too strongly criticized Bannon’s comments about Romney and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Here in Utah we reject the ugly politics and tactics of Steve Bannon,” Herbert posted.
Herbert said Bannon’s attack doesn’t show support for Hatch, a fellow member of the LDS church. Instead, he says it is “old-fashioned Mormon bigotry to desperately drum up support for a morally-compromised candidate.”
Herbert vowed to do everything in his power to work against any candidate supported or endorsed by Bannon.
The following is the full text of Herbert’s post:
<em>Mitt Romney and his family are honorable people. They represent the very best of American values. Here in Utah we reject the ugly politics and tactics of Steve Bannon.</em>
<em>Why is Steve Bannon so intent on going after Mitt Romney? Attacking Romney’s faith doesn’t show support for Orrin Hatch, another faithful Latter-day Saint. It appears to be a way of using old-fashioned Mormon bigotry to desperately drum up support for a morally-compromised candidate.</em>
<em>Steve Bannon, #stayout of Utah. We don’t need you. We don’t want you. You don’t line up with American values. You don’t line up with Utah values.</em>
<em>Utah politics tend to be conservative in principle. And at the very core of those conservative principles is the recognition that every individual deserves dignity and respect. That is what is reflected in the Declaration of Independence — all are created equal with inalienable rights. Utahns, who know and understand core American values, are inclusive in our processes. That is why we are civil and respectful in how we talk and interact. We cannot afford any erosion of that basic guiding principle. No political ends can justify this ugliness.</em>
<em>I will actively work against any candidate who seeks to be endorsed or supported by Steve Bannon.</em>