"I have morons on my team": Mitt Romney blasts radical Republicans in Congress

The former Republican presidential nominee took aim at GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar

By Jon Skolnik

Staff Writer

Published February 28, 2022 12:52PM (EST)

Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mitt Romney and Paul Gosar (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mitt Romney and Paul Gosar (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, called Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., "morons" on Sunday after the two House lawmakers attended a white nationalist event whose participants heaped praise on Russia for invading Ukraine. 

"Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, I don't know them," Romney said during a CNN interview. "I'm reminded of the old line from the 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' movie, where one character says, 'Morons, I have morons on my team.'"

"I have to think anybody that would sit down with White nationalists and speak at their conference was certainly missing a few IQ points," the senator added. 

Romney's comments came in response to Greene and Gosar's presence at the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), held this past weekend in Orlando, Florida. The event, organized by white nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, featured a number of conservatives firebrands known for their off-color rhetoric, including Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, Idaho Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin, and former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio.  

RELATED: White nationalists prep for "physical" altercation with security at Dallas CPAC conference

Most participants ostensibly elided or downplayed Russia's recent invasion into Ukraine, which was launched last week on the heels of months of brinkmanship along the Ukrainian border. 

However, Fuentes addressed the issue head-on, prompting the crowd to give a "round of applause for Russia." 

The crowd immediately erupted into cheers, chanting, "Putin! Putin! Putin!"

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Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who is spearheading the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot, condemned the event this week, accusing Greene of "using her official USG congressional account to promote anti-Semitic, white supremacist, pro-Hitler, pro-Putin conference."

"House GOP Leaders," Cheney tweeted. "Have you lost all sense of decency? 

RELATED: Putin leaves Republicans splintered and confused

Following her appearance, Greene attempted to dissociate herself from Fuentes, telling CBS News, "I don't know what his views are, so I'm not aligned with anything that may be controversial."

"I went to his event last night to address his very large following because that is a young, very young, following and a generation I am extremely concerned about," the lawmaker added.

Over the past week, Republicans have been uncharacteristically divided on the Russian invasion, lacking any unified message as to whether Putin should be condemned. Several Republicans, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump, have walked back their praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin as civilian and military casualties continue to mount.  

Last week, Trump called Putin's unprovoked incursion "genius," arguing that the Russian leader has "taken over a country for $2 worth of sanctions." But during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this past weekend, Trump condemned the Russian attack "appalling."

"We are praying for the proud people of Ukraine," said the former president. "God bless them all."

Monday marks the fifth day of Putin's invasion, with Russian forces continuing the edge their way into the heart of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Thus far, Russia has failed to overtake any key Ukrainian cities, casting strong doubt over prior speculation that the invasion would be carried out quickly.

RELATED: Trump praises "very smart" Putin for invading Ukraine

By Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik was a former staff writer at Salon.

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America First Pac Gop Gop Civil War Mitt Romney Mtg Paul Gosar Republicans