Senator Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, criticized "morons" in the Republican Party who attended a White nationalist conference in Florida, calling the event "evil."
Romney's statements were a response to the news Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona had not only attended but been featured speakers at the third annual America First Political Action Conference.
Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers and Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin also delivered pre-recorded remarks for the event for a group that has been widely identified as a White nationalist organization.
You can hear Romney's remarks in the video below.
Speaking on CNN's State of the Union, Romney stressed both political parties need to have a zero tolerance policy for White nationalism and racism:
“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 also condemned Greene and Gosar, referring to them as "morons":
I don't know them 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.”
He then went on to issue a concise condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent move to invade Ukraine and criticized conference attendees who'd praised Putin's behavior:
“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."
“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.”
Many praised Romney for speaking out and also sharply rebuked the conference attendees.
Gosar has proven one of the more controversial figures in Congress, most notably for backing former President Donald Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 general election and speaking at prior white nationalist events.
Gosar voted to overturn the results of the election and mere hours after the Capitol riot, which took place after a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the United States Capitol in a bid to overturn the election results, he became the first member of Congress to advance the conspiracy theory that Antifa was to blame for the violence.
Late last year, Gosar was censured by his colleagues after he shared an altered, animated video that depicts him killing New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and threatening President Joe Biden.
Greene has often made headlines for her incendiary comments, such as prior Islamophobic remarks, including her suggestion that there is an ongoing "Islamic invasion" of the United States government and her claim that "Democrats are controlled now by the Jihad squad.”
Her hateful rhetoric also took center stage in recent months after she said people should "never apologize to Islamic terrorist sympathizers, communists, or those who fund murder with our tax dollars," in an attack against Representative Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and one of the few Muslims in Congress.