Romney denounces pastor slated to speak at US Embassy in Jerusalem

Senate candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySenate Republicans urge Trump to tone down rhetoric on protests Congress flying blind: Why now is the time to revive the Office of Technology Assessment Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE (R) on Sunday night denounced the pastor expected to speak at Monday's ceremony celebrating the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

"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," Romney tweeted.

Jeffress, a Dallas-based pastor and known supporter of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police MORE, said over the weekend that he would be leading the prayer at the dedication of the new embassy. Trump announced in December that he was relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, a move that drew international condemnation and sparked concerns of a widening conflict in the Middle East.

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According to a report from Haaretz, Jeffress has made derogatory remarks about Islam in the past, calling it "a religion that promotes pedophilia" and a "heresy from the pit of hell." 

He has also called Mormonism a "cult" that is not a true part of Christianity and said "you can't be saved by being a Jew," Haaretz reported. 

Jeffress endorsed Romney, who is Mormon, for president back in 2012, despite derogatory comments the pastor made at the time about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The pastor has repeatedly defended Trump in the midst of numerous controversies, including allegations that the president had an affair with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.

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“Evangelicals know they’re not compromising their beliefs in order to support this great president,” he told Fox News in March. “And let’s be clear, evangelicals still believe in the commandment ‘Thou shalt not have sex with a porn star.’”

“However, whether this president violated that commandment or not is totally irrelevant to our support of him,” he said.

The U.S. delegation, which includes White House senior advisers Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump's strategy to stay in office Trump tries to soothe anxious GOP senators Press: King Donald's goal - no checks, no balances MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump: food chain 'almost working perfectly again' Lilly Wachowski claps back at Ivanka Trump and Elon Musk's 'red pill' exchange Trump says he gave officials 'option' to wear masks at Rose Garden event MORE, arrived in Israel this weekend ahead of the embassy opening. Celebrations began in Jerusalem on Sunday, though, according to Reuters, numerous foreign envoys invited to participate declined to attend.