Romney denounces pastor slated to speak at US Embassy in Jerusalem

Senate candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySeveral factors have hindered 'next up' presidential candidates in recent years Small Florida county that backed Trump one of two targeted by Russians: reports Foreign Relations senators demand Iran briefing 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 TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens 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.

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.

“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: 'Good chance' Dems give immigration 'win' after Pelosi called White House plan 'dead on arrival' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition — Trump: GOP has `clear contrast' with Dems on immigration Trump's immigration push faces Capitol Hill buzzsaw MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpHouse Intel to probe whether lawyers for Trump family interfered in investigation Trump Jr. subpoenaed after backing out of interviews: report Graham encourages Donald Trump Jr. to plead the Fifth 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.