Bannon hits Mitt Romney's religion, family tree at Roy Moore rally, putting RNC chairwoman in a tough spot

Stephen Bannon hits at Mitt Romney
(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Stephen Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist and campaign chairman, headlined a rally Tuesday night for Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama, and he saved some of his harshest lines for Senate Republicans and other GOP critics of Moore. He took special aim at Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who had just posted a photo of his $100 donation to Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones — "Come on, brother, if you're going to write a check, write a check." Then he swiped at another Mormon, Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee.

Romney said earlier this week that if Moore won the Dec. 12 election, it would be "a stain on the GOP and the nation," tackling Trump's stated rationale for endorsing Moore: "No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity." Bannon was personal in his counterattack, calling Romney a Vietnam draft dodger. "You hid behind your religion. You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies," Bannon said. "Do not talk to me about honor and integrity," he added. "Judge Roy Moore has more honor and integrity in that pinky finger than your entire family has in its whole DNA."

That may be an uncomfortable line of attack for Trump, who was spared fighting in Vietnam due to college and diagnosed bone spurs, but it is also a hard hit on Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, a niece of Romney's who is also Mormon. On Tuesday, after Trump endorsed Moore, the RNC transferred $170,000 to the Alabama GOP to help Moore's campaign, The Associated Press reports.

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When Moore spoke, he did not address the credible allegations from several women who say he sexually groped or pursued them when they were teenagers, focusing instead on his message of moral renewal. "We've got to go back to God," he said. "We've got to go back and restore the morality of this country."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.