Utah Governor Gary Herbert Calls Steve Bannon A ‘Mormon Bigot’ After Comments About Mitt Romney

Utah Governor Gary Herbert says Steve Bannon is a "Mormon bigot" who should "stay out of Utah" after his comments about Mitt Romney.

Utah Gov Gary Herbert blasts Steve Bannon as Mormon bigot over Mitt Romney comments
Brynn Anderson / AP Images

Utah Governor Gary Herbert says Steve Bannon is a "Mormon bigot" who should "stay out of Utah" after his comments about Mitt Romney.

During a Tuesday night rally for disgraced Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, ousted Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon took a dig at Moore critic and prominent Mormon Mitt Romney. Romney has been an outspoken critic of fellow Republican Roy Moore, who stands accused of pursuing romantic relationships with teenage girls while he was a middle-aged man. When the Moore scandal initially broke, Mitt Romney took to Twitter to call on the former Alabama chief justice and current Senate candidate to drop out of the race to fill the seat vacated by Trump-appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In a widely shared November 10 tweet, Romney publicly proclaimed that he believes the account of Roy Moore’s youngest alleged victim, adding that the accusations against him make Moore, who has since been endorsed by Donald Trump, “unfit for public office,” and that the would-be senator should “step aside.” Moore has denied the sexual misconduct allegations.

“Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.”

At Tuesday’s Roy Moore campaign event, Steve Bannon took aim at Mitt Romney, attacking the former Massachusetts governor’s lack of military service during the Vietnam War. Rather than go off to battle during the deadly U.S. military operation, reports KSL, Mitt Romney served a religious mission in France for the Mormon Church.

At the Moore rally, Steve Bannon accused Romney of “hiding behind his religion” to avoid military service during the Vietnam conflict, and of going to France while “guys were dying in rice paddies.” The disgraced former Trump chief strategist went on to blast Mitt Romney’s children, attacking his five sons for not serving in recent U.S. wars.

“By the way, Mitt, while we’re on the subject of honor and integrity, you avoided service, brother. 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…You had five sons, not one day of service in Afghanistan and Iraq…Where were the Romneys during those wars? You want to talk about honor and integrity, brother, bring it. Bring it down here to Alabama.”

While Steve Bannon spoke critically of Mitt Romney’s lack of service in the Vietnam War, it is worth noting that he served as chief strategist to Donald Trump, a president who also avoided serving in the same war via five separate deferments. As the New York Times reports, Trump received four deferments for college and a fifth one for “heel spurs.” In a past interview, Trump claimed that he couldn’t remember the name of the doctor who provided him with a letter for military officials.

“I had a doctor that gave me a letter — a very strong letter on the heels.”

Heel spurs are generally treated with orthotics, stretching, or even surgery. According to Trump, an avid golfer, his heels simply healed on their own, although he doesn’t remember precisely when. Like Mitt Romney’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have both abstained from service in the U.S. military.

“Over a period of time, it healed up.”

Bannon’s remarks against Mitt Romney came one day after Romney unleashed another scathing tweet targeting Roy Moore, calling his alleged victim “courageous heroes” and Moore a potential “stain on the GOP.”

While Steve Bannon is apparently not much of a Mitt Romney fan, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, also a member of the Mormon Church, is. And while the State of Utah hosted President Donald Trump on Monday, by Wednesday, its governor was slamming his former chief strategist all over social media and local news radio. During a segment on The Doug Wright Show, Herbert called Bannon a “Mormon bigot,” and his words against Mitt Romney “a low blow because of politics.”

“This smacks of good old-fashioned Mormon bigotry. I think that’s what Steve Bannon has demonstrated with his comment, is just he’s a Mormon bigot. Clearly there’s many ways to serve your country. [Steve Bannon] clearly has no idea what it’s like to serve on a two-year LDS mission in a far away land. There’s more than one way to in fact go out there and do good things for your fellow man.”

In one tweet, Herbert addressed Bannon directly, telling the controversial conservative to #stayout of Utah, adding that the state doesn’t want or need him here.

In another tweet, Herbert even included the hashtag #stayout once more, reiterating his desire that Steve Bannon stay out of the Mormon-majority state.

According to Governor Herbert, Bannon not only attacked Mitt Romney with his Moore rally words, but he attacked the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) as well at the same time. Gary Herbert went on to add that the church limited the number of missionaries in the field during the Vietnam War.

“They actually put a quota in place, so fewer missionaries actually went out during that time of the Vietnam War, because they were sensitive about the fact that we had a draft and a war going on and wanted to make sure that we did our part.”

In addition to defending Mitt Romney and his faith, Governor Herbert claimed that Steve Bannon is “out of touch with reality” and should stay out of Utah, because he doesn’t “line up with Utah values.”