Bannon on Romney: ‘You hid behind your religion’ to avoid Vietnam


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(CNN) — Steve Bannon bashed Mitt Romney Tuesday night for, as he put it, hiding behind his religion to avoid getting drafted into the Vietnam War.

Bannon, stumping for controversial Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama in Fairhope, Alabama, touted Moore’s military service in Vietnam and criticized Romney for his lack of “honor and integrity.” Romney tweeted Monday, “no vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.”

“By the way, Mitt, while we’re on the subject of honor and integrity, you avoided service, brother,” Bannon said. “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.”

Romney, a Mormon, served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France for two and a half years in the late 1960s. In 1968, he suffered a broken arm when a car he was driving was involved in a head-on collision, killing one of the passengers.

Bannon also brought up Romney’s family.

“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,” Bannon said.

Bannon did not serve in Vietnam, either, though he was of age to do so and attended college during the final years of the war. After the war ended, Bannon served in the Navy. He is most famous as chief strategist to President Donald Trump, who obtained multiple deferments for the Vietnam War for education and bone spurs. Neither of Trump’s grown sons served in the US military.

The former White House chief strategist said Romney — who called for Republicans to block Trump during the 2016 election before he was considered to be Trump’s secretary of state — is still “bitter about Donald Trump,” adding that Romney doesn’t “have the guts to get on the stage of a man who served in Vietnam.”

“Judge Moore has more honor and integrity in a pinkie finger than your family has in its whole DNA,” Bannon added.

Trump, who offered his full endorsement of Moore earlier this week, is scheduled to hold a rally just 25 miles from the Alabama border in Pensacola, Florida, later this week.