Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon slammed Mitt Romney at a rally for Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore Tuesday night, saying Moore “has more honor and integrity in [his] pinky finger than your entire family has in its whole DNA.”
Bannon’s appearance came one week before polling day in a brief, but ugly special election race between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. The campaign has been dominated by accusations of sexual misconduct made against Moore by several women, one of whom claimed Moore molested her when she was 14 years old and he was in his early 30s.
On Monday, Romney tweeted that “Roy Moore in the US [sic] Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation.”
In response, Bannon contrasted Moore’s Army service during the Vietnam War with Romney’s work as a Mormon missionary in the late-1960s.
“You hid behind your religion,” said Bannon, addressing Romney. “You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies.”
Bannon spoke hours after the Republican National Committee transferred $170,000 to the Alabama Republican Party to bolster Moore’s campaign. The RNC had dropped its support for Moore after the sexual abuse allegations surfaced last month. Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel — Mitt Romney’s niece — called the allegations against Moore sufficiently “concerning” to warrant the RNC severing financial ties.
On Monday, the Washington Post reported new evidence of Moore’s pursuit of teenage girls decades ago. Moore has denied knowing any of the women, but one of them, Debbie Wesson Gibson, shared with the newspaper a card she said was signed by Moore congratulating her on graduating from high school.
Jones responded to Bannon’s appearance Tuesday night by tweeting “We don’t need an outside agitator like Steve Bannon carpetbagging in Alabama,” a reference to Northerners who moved South after the Civil War, ostensibly for political and financial gain.
During a speech in Birmingham earlier Tuesday, Jones referred to his record as a former federal prosecutor: “I damn sure believe that I have done my part to ensure that men who hurt little girls should go to jail and not the United States Senate.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.