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Romney denounces pastor slated to speak at US Embassy in Jerusalem

Senate candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMellman: The triumph of partisanship The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Amazon picks NYC, Northern Virginia for new offices | CNN suing Trump over Acosta press pass | Pelosi machine lobbies for Speakership Juan Williams: Trump's hostile takeover of the GOP 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 TrumpDeath toll in Northern California wildfire rises to 48: authorities Graham backs bill to protect Mueller Denham loses GOP seat in California 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 eyes post-midterm shakeup Congress braces for high-drama lame duck Trump’s tough-love policy for China MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump eyes post-midterm shakeup Michelle Obama thanks Bush, Clinton daughters for supporting Sasha and Malia Stan Lee, legendary comic book writer, dies at 95 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.