Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) on Sunday castigated fellow Republican lawmakers who recently spoke at a white nationalist conference in Florida, calling the event “evil” and likening those attending to “morons.”
“There’s no place in either political party for this white nationalist or racism. It’s simply wrong. It’s, as you’ve indicated, speaking of evil, it’s evil as well,” Romney told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
He went on to call out Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) for speaking at the third annual America First Political Action Conference, which was organized by white nationalist figurehead Nick Fuentes in Orlando, Florida.
Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers and Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, both Republicans, also spoke at the event in a pre-recorded video.
“I don’t know them,” he said of Greene and Gosar, “but I’m reminded of that old line from the ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ movie where one character says, ‘Morons, I’ve got morons on my team.’ And I have to think anybody that would sit down with white nationalists and speak at their conference was certainly missing a few IQ points.”
Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Romney was also quick and vocal with his denouncement of fellow Republicans who have sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he believes any such support is “almost treasonous.” He also said he hopes many of them are “changing their stripes” in the wake of the ongoing violence.
“How anybody in this country, which loves freedom, can side with Vladimir Putin, which is an oppressor, a dictator, he kills people. He imprisons his political opponents. He has been an adversary of America at every chance he’s had. It’s unthinkable to me,” he said. “It’s almost treasonous and it just makes me ill to see some of these people do that but, of course, they do it because they think it’s shock value and it’s going to get them more eyeballs and maybe make a little more money for them or their network. It’s disgusting and I’m hopeful that you’re seeing some of those people recognize just how wrong they were.”
Romney held back in directly condemning former President Donald Trump when questioned by Bash about whether he believes Trump’s past praise of Putin is treasonous. He did say: “Standing up for freedom is the right thing to do in America and anything less than that, in my opinion, is unworthy of American support.”