Mitt Romney said Sunday that a prominent Baptist minister and supporter of President Donald Trump should not give the prayer that opens the US Embassy in Jerusalem because he is a "religious bigot."
WHAT: Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee who is running for US Senate in Utah, in a tweet cited Robert Jeffress' past remarks about the damnation of Mormons, Jews, and Muslims.
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.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 14, 2018
According to Media Matters, Jeffress made the remarks in a 2011 speech at the conservative Values Voter Summit.
The Jerusalem Open House followed up Monday with criticism of the choice of Jeffress to , saying he had called gay rights promoters “pedophilia activists” and homosexuality a “perversion.”
Jeffress fired back in a tweet Monday, saying he stands by his belief that “salvation is through faith in Christ alone.”
Historic Christianity has taught for 2,000 years that salvation is through faith in Christ alone. The fact that I, along with tens of millions of evangelical Christians around the world, continue to espouse that belief, is neither bigoted nor newsworthy.— Dr. Robert Jeffress (@robertjeffress) May 14, 2018
WHY: The Trump administration's choice of Jeffress to participate in the ceremony underlines the appeal of the embassy move to Christian conservatives. Some critics have characterized Trump's relocation of the embassy as a cynical giveaway to such people, who often support Israel on a biblical basis and constitute an important part of the president's political base.
They blame Trump for Palestinian violence and diplomatic retrenchment in response to the December announcement of the decision -- along with US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
But the Trump administration and Israel have