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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 RomneyThe American Rescue Plan was a step toward universal basic income Cheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Florida's restrictive voting bill signed into law 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 TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report 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 KushnerNew Kushner group aims to promote relations between Arab states, Israel Republicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process Iran moves closer to a diplomatic breakthrough that may upset Israel MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Ivanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot Jill Biden a key figure in push to pitch White House plans 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.