To endorse or un-endorse. That is the question.
It’s clear Utah Republicans are in a pickle with Donald Trump’s candidacy.
We asked our “Political Insiders” panel whether Utah GOP office holders like Gov. Gary Herbert, Sen. Orrin Hatch or House Speaker Greg Hughes should take back their endorsements of Trump in the wake of some of his more controversial statements.
40% of the Republicans on our panel think fellow GOP members should take back their endorsements of Trump while 38% said they should keep them. 82% of the Democrats we surveyed said Republicans should un-endorse Trump while 81% of our readers agreed.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox made headlines recently when he said he would not vote for Trump unless he made changes to his inflammatory rhetoric. This came after Gov. Gary Herbert said he would vote for Trump in November, even though he disagrees with him on many issues.
In just the last month Trump has suggested Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were the “founders” of ISIS. He also seemingly suggested his supporters possibly assassinate Clinton or her liberal Supreme Court Justices. He also publicly feuded with the parents of a fallen Muslim-American soldier.
Selected anonymous comments:
“Really, what is an endorsement good for anyway? Sure it can offer some goodwill etc., maybe some money, maybe convince a few people, but if I was endorsed by an official of any political party, as if I would ever have the temerity to run for office in the first place, that (the endorsement) plus five bucks can get me a ride on FrontRunner. To endorse or “un-endorse”, that is the question (Roll-over, Bill). Maybe some office holders could back out gracefully, by announcing that the turn of events in this election have left them with serious doubts about their earlier choice for Presidential candidate and then choose another, if they were honest in the first place…not much fall-out (What they do in the voting booth is their own business, of course). Some will doggedly stick to their guns (roll-over Marion Morrison, or Lassie…you choose). Because ideology is more important than substance to them, the political dilettantes. Yes some, maybe many, of our elected officials fall into this category. A presidential campaign such as this seems to have bred dilettantism in the extreme. Still, the extreme and shrill rhetoric, from both sides of the aisle, makes me want to hold my ears and hibernate for the next 80 some odd days until Election Day (Roll-Over Beethoven). Sorry…”
“I am a Republican. I align best with conventional Republican principles. Donald Trump is evil. Under no circumstances will I vote for Donald Trump. Governor Gary Herbert is an exceptionally good human being. People like Governor Herbert should feel completely free to disavow Donald Trump and repudiate the hateful things Donald Trump is saying while still staying true to their party and principles.”
“Endorsements should be very personal and with good reason. There is plenty of time to gauge whether Trump has betrayed their trust. And, of course, there is that Hillary problem…”
“Utahns will remember a Donald Trump endorsement for years to come. A terrible tactical move by Senator Hatch and others. At least go into hiding like Chaffetz and Mia Love.”
“The more I hear about him, the more I like the idea of Cox running for that open U.S. Senate seat in 2018.”
“One of Hatch’s biggest blind spots is celebrity. We all know Ted Kennedy and he were BFF’s. We remember that one time Hatch convinced President Bush to pardon a rapper who got caught dealing cocaine. Why? Hatch’s friend Carly Simon asked him to do it. Muhammad Ali was a friend. The list goes on. And now, is anyone surprised that Hatch is the first Utahn to jump aboard the Donald Trump celebrity train. Wake up Senator Hatch. Just because someone is famous doesn’t mean they’re worthy of your support.”
“Ask yourself a simple question: How many Donald Trump yard signs have you seen in Utah this year? If your neighbor puts one up, you automatically assume there’s something wrong with them, right? It’s not much different with politicians.”
“Cox stood up to John Swallow as the first legislator to call for him to resign. He stood up to James Evans and the rest of the SB 54 haters by fully implementing the new law (and being sued by his own party multiple times in the process). And now he’s standing up to a narcissist bully in Donald Trump. That kind of leadership speaks volumes about the kind of person Cox is.”
“I don’t know if rescinding does much good at this point in time. They shouldn’t have endorsed to begin with. Cox has been the only one willing to stick his neck out on this issue.”
“Spencer Cox’s stock keeps rising. And that long bench of up-and-comers in the state can’t be too happy about it.”
“I’m a lifelong Republican, and I can count on one hand the number of people who have openly admitted they plan to vote for Donald Trump. They might do it, but they’re certainly ashamed of the decision.”
“If you’re not willing to take back your endorsement of Donald Trump now after all the crazy things he’s said, would you ever? What if he stood in the middle of 5th Avenue and shot someone?”
“Watching so many political insiders who are furious with Cox is one of my favorite parts of this election cycle. Give the guy credit. Standing up to the political establishment and your own boss (Herbert) takes a lot of courage.”
“I will not vote for any Republican on my ballot unless that person has explicitly said they will not vote for Trump.”
“I was shocked to hear Gov. Herbert was endorsing Donald Trump. Everything I’ve come to respect in Gov. Herbert over the years (reasonable, a team-builder, not a flame thrower) is the complete opposite of Donald Trump. Governor, there’s still time to do the right thing.”
“Any Republican who gives even one second of thought to the implications that will result if Hillary Clinton nominates the next Supreme Court Justice should want to vote for Donald Trump regardless of his many weaknesses.”
“Out-of-touch political insiders are the only ones demanding all Republicans fall in line behind Donald Trump. Get out of your caves and talk to actual Utahns.”
“Republican officeholders expect to do better in a Trump administration than a Clinton administration. Nevertheless, many Utahns would prefer to see their locally and statewide elected officials stand up for principle and against the anger and chaos that Donald Trump oozes.”
“Greg Hughes early and emphatic endorsement likely spells the end of what was a very promising political career. Hang on to that Speaker’s gavel, and just pray that people forget in the next 4 years (spoiler alert….they won’t).”
“As a lifelong Utah Republican, nothing has made me prouder than all of the national attention on Utah’s refusal to fall in line behind Donald Trump. We need more leaders like Mitt Romney and Spencer Cox.”
“Honest question — In 2018 what will hurt Orrin Hatch more, his broken promise to only serve one more term or his endorsement of Donald Trump?”
“Spencer Cox, will you please run for Senate or Governor? We need you.”
“All of their claims about “Supporting Utah Values” become increasingly more false the longer that they continue to support a candidate that is not in line with how Utahns welcome & respect all types of people to this great state. Regardless of whether or not you agree with his politics, Mitt Romney exemplifies the importance of placing personal values over political party affiliations.”
“Rescinding their endorsement would suggest some sort of disagreement with his message and behavior. Trump is like a Utah GOP legislator gone big time.”
“Party loyalty can’t continue to supersede good judgment, Constitutional principles, and basic moral integrity. It’s time for our politicians to be honest with themselves and with us and withdraw their endorsements — or look like fools as Trump continues to take foolishness to new levels of absurdity.”
“I am embarrassed that anyone from Utah would endorse this terrible human!. It has made both my husband and I leave the Republican Party! Give us a reason to come back and not be ashamed!”
“Anything, and I mean ANYTHING is better than lying Hillary.”
“Echoing Spencer Cox, without a DRASTIC change in tone, no serious politician should be endorsing this man right now. Rescind your endorsement, rebuke his rhetoric, and if his tone changes, endorse again. Makes for more airtime anyway!”
“Party loyalty should not override loyalty to country. Anyone who cares about the future of the nation should not endorse someone who is so clearly unfit for the job.”
“Trump is an absolute embarrassment to the OGP (Once Great Party). Every Republican should focus his or her efforts on maintaining a majority in the House and in the Senate. The country has survived eight years under Obama. It won’t be pretty, but we can do another four years under Clinton. I think that Trump is so unqualified in so many ways that under him the country could sustain unrecoverable damage.”
“To maintain such an endorsement, will place you forever on the wrong side of history!”
“In the same way that I expect responsible Muslim leaders to condemn hateful and immoral behavior from Islamic extremists, so too do I expect Republican leaders to condemn hateful and immoral statements from their presidential nominee.”