President Donald Trump spoke with Mitt Romney on Tuesday after former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon unleashed an attack against the former failed presidential candidate.
The call was revealed by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway on CNN in an interview with Chris Cuomo.
Conway said she wasn’t sure whether Trump and Romney spoke about Bannon’s comments, but that the president said they had a “wonderful conversation.”
I just wanted to make sure that you know the truth coming from the White House, the president of the United States and Governor Romney spoke, I don’t know, 10 hours ago, less than 12 hours ago. And people should know that because otherwise, there’s speculation, and consternation, and hand-wringing about who speaks for the president and who he speaks to.
The phone call took place after the bipartisan Congressional ball at the White House, where the president and the first lady spent over three hours taking photos and speaking with members of Congress.
Bannon challenged Romney after the former failed candidate said that Roy Moore’s election would be a “stain” on the Republican party and the country.
“No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity,” Romney wrote on Twitter.
Bannon challenged Romney’s statement, reminding him that Roy Moore served in Vietnam.
“You hid behind your religion. You went to France to be a missionary while men were dying in Vietnam. Do not talk about honor and integrity,” Bannon said during a campaign rally with Moore on Tuesday evening.
“You ran for commander-in-chief and had five sons — not one day of service in Afghanistan or Iraq. We have 7,000 dead and 52,000 casualties, and where were the Romneys during those wars?” Bannon asked. “Judge Roy Moore has more honor and integrity in his pinky finger than your entire family.”
Conway denied that Bannon was speaking on the president’s behalf in Alabama, reminding CNN that he endorsed Sen. Luther Strange before he lost to Moore.
Bannon’s comments outraged several political leaders, including Sen. Orrin Hatch who is weighing whether or not he wants to run for re-election.
Hatch issued a statement:
Steve Bannon’s attacks on Governor Romney and his service are disappointing and unjustified. Mitt is a close personal friend, an honest leader, a great American, and someone who has sought every opportunity possible to serve our country.
I also resent anyone attacking any person’s religious views, but particularly our own Christian LDS faith and the selfless service of missionary work. I’d be more than happy to sit down with Mr. Bannon and help him understand more about the LDS Church at his convenience. I’ve got a copy of the Book of Mormon with his name on it.
Romney is a widely rumored popular candidate to replace Hatch, if he decides to retire.
Sen. Mike Lee also reacted to Bannon’s attacks against the Romney family.
“Mitt Romney is a good man. Whether you agree or disagree with him on any matter of public policy, you can’t credibly call into question his patriotism or moral character—especially on the basis of his religious beliefs or his outstanding service as a missionary,” he wrote on Twitter.
Mitt Romney is a good man. Whether you agree or disagree with him on any matter of public policy, you can’t credibly call into question his patriotism or moral character—especially on the basis of his religious beliefs or his outstanding service as a missionary.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) December 6, 2017
Utah Governor Gary Herbert also condemned Bannon’s statement.
“Mitt Romney and his family are honorable people and represent the very best of Utah values,” he wrote on Twitter. “Utahns reject the ugly politics and tactics of Steve Bannon.”
— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) December 6, 2017