Romney denounces pastor slated to speak at US Embassy in Jerusalem

Senate candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMilley discussed resigning from post after Trump photo-op: report Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Attorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury MORE (R) on Sunday night denounced the pastor expected to speak at Monday’s ceremony celebrating the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

“Robert Jeffress says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew,’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.’ He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem,” Romney tweeted.

Jeffress, a Dallas-based pastor and known supporter of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, said over the weekend that he would be leading the prayer at the dedication of the new embassy. Trump announced in December that he was relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, a move that drew international condemnation and sparked concerns of a widening conflict in the Middle East.

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According to a report from Haaretz, Jeffress has made derogatory remarks about Islam in the past, calling it “a religion that promotes pedophilia” and a “heresy from the pit of hell.” 

He has also called Mormonism a “cult” that is not a true part of Christianity and said “you can’t be saved by being a Jew,” Haaretz reported. 

Jeffress endorsed Romney, who is Mormon, for president back in 2012, despite derogatory comments the pastor made at the time about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The pastor has repeatedly defended Trump in the midst of numerous controversies, including allegations that the president had an affair with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.

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“Evangelicals know they’re not compromising their beliefs in order to support this great president,” he told Fox News in March. “And let’s be clear, evangelicals still believe in the commandment ‘Thou shalt not have sex with a porn star.’”

“However, whether this president violated that commandment or not is totally irrelevant to our support of him,” he said.

The U.S. delegation, which includes White House senior advisers Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTim Scott to introduce GOP police reform bill next week GOP votes to give Graham broad subpoena power in Obama-era probe House GOP delays police reform bill MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTom Cotton defends Ivanka Trump over canceled commencement speech: ‘Woke’ critics ‘ruined it for everyone’ Ivanka Trump releases prepared speech after being dropped as Wichita State commencement speaker The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump poses for controversial photo op at DC church amid protests MORE, arrived in Israel this weekend ahead of the embassy opening. Celebrations began in Jerusalem on Sunday, though, according to Reuters, numerous foreign envoys invited to participate declined to attend.

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