02/22/2012 10:24 am ET

Robert Jeffress: I'll 'Hold My Nose' And Vote For Mitt Romney

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Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Dallas Baptist pastor who previously endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) for president and ignited controversy last October for calling Mormonism a cult, said he would hold his nose and vote for Mitt Romney if he ends up being the GOP nominee for president.

In an interview with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell Tuesday, he said, "I'm going to hold my nose and do it, but that's hardly a ringing campaign endorsement. I don't think that'll make a slogan -- hold your nose and vote." He explained that he wrote in his book that, "Given the choice between a non-Christian like Mitt Romney who at least embraces some biblical positions like the sanctity of life and sanctity of marriage, as opposed to a professing Christian like [President] Barack Obama who takes unbiblical positions, I believe there is merit in choosing the non-Christian over the Christian."

Jeffress said in October that he believed that Mormonism is a "cult" after introducing Perry at the Values Voters Summit in Washington. Mitt Romney called on Perry to repudiate the remarks.

Jeffress also said to O'Donnell, as he did in October, that he does not believe that Mormons are Christians. "Mormonism is not historic Christianity. When people say, well, Mormons and Christians all believe the same things, my response is if that's true, why are they always on my front doorstep trying to convert me?" he said, adding that Mormons, or anyone who isn't Christian, can also be a "good, moral person."

Jeffress was also asked about Rev. Franklin Graham, who waffled Tuesday on MSNBC in answering questions over whether President Barack Obama is a Christian. "We love Franklin Graham. I think he should have stuck with his original premise and that is that President Obama claims to be a Christian. In my book, I quote an interview with President Obama in which he says he has trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. And by that definition, he's a Christian."