Utah GOP reaffirms support for Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Ambridge, Pennsylvania, Oct. 10, 2016 | AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, St.G Geroge News

ST. GEORGE – The Utah Republican Party reaffirmed its support of presidential candidate Donald Trump in a statement released Monday afternoon.

Party chair James Evans said in the statement that the comments Trump made about women were “unacceptable,” yet he went on the say that the candidate has apologized and “is a better person now.”

“While much has been made of his unacceptable comments recorded on tape eleven years ago, the choice before the American people on who will lead this county is between an agent of charge, Donald Trump, or more of the same, Hillary Clinton,” Evans said. “Make no mistake, Donald Trump is an insurgent candidate who has rattled the political establishment to its core; and as such, they are fighting back with all they have.”

Trump’s recorded words, which were released in a video Friday, have caused many state and national-level Republicans to condemn them, as well as call for him to step down as the candidate.

The recording in question is what Trump has referred to as “locker-room banter,” in which he brags about kissing, groping and trying to sleep with women, and other comments that have been labeled as sexual assault by media commentators and detractors both within and outside of the GOP.

In the wake of the comments Friday, Republicans Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Jason Chaffetz withdrew their support of Trump. Rep. Mia Love has also stated she will not vote for Trump due to the recording, while Sen. Mike Lee has called for him to step down.

Lee said Trump and his backers can cement a lasting legacy if he were to step aside, allowing Republicans to find a candidate who can bring together all elements within the party and defeat Clinton.

Lee told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that “we’ve got candidates who can do it. There’s still time to do it, but we have to actually do it.”

Others, such as Sen. Orrin Hatch, Rep. Rob Bishop and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, have also condemned the words said 11 years ago between Trump and a host of the program “Access Hollywood,” but they did not withdraw overall support of the candidate.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declined to weigh in on the issue, but the church-owned Deseret News newspaper published a scathing editorial Saturday calling for Trump to step aside.

What oozes from this audio is evil,” the paper wrote. “Nor is this an isolated incident. His reprehensible sexual speech confirms troubling reports and outrageous outbursts that have dogged his campaign from the beginning.”

“Donald Trump has apologized for his comments of eleven years ago when he was in the environment of Hollywood and the political left,” Evans said. “He has professed on many occasions he is not proud of his past, and that his heart has changed and he is a better person now.”

The Utah GOP condemns the degradation of women, as well as the comments on the recording, Evens said in the statement.

However, I accept Mr. Trump’s (apology) and trust he is demonstrating the change in his heart today; and I support him as our Republican nominee.”

Evans goes on to state the party will respect those members who will “vote their conscience” following this incident. As well, he said he trusts that as emotions subside, people will remember the issues at stake this election cycle. These include future Supreme Court nominees, as well as national, financial and security concerns, he said.

“As Chair of the Utah Republican Party, I am confident at the end of the day, Utah will support Donald Trump for president,” Evans said.

The Utah Democratic Party issued the following statement in response to the UTah GOP:

Today’s comments by Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans show yet again just how out of touch the Utah Republican Party is with the people of Utah. While Utahns, including many Republican elected officials, have spent the last 72 hours disavowing their allegiance to Trump, the Utah Republican Party is still standing by a man who is a racist, a misogynist and far from a  reflection of Utah values.

As Utahns in more than 20 counties prepare to receive their ballots in the mail this week, we urge them to learn about the candidates in each contest, from the presidential race to the local races, and to remember which of the two major parties stands with them and their families in this critical election. Faced with an opportunity to go high, the Utah Republican Party chose to go low. Some things are more important than party loyalty, and I feel confident voters will find that Utah Democrats reflect their priorities.

Ed. note: This story was udpated to include the statement from the Utah Democratic Party

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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20 Comments

  • Bob October 10, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    yep, the recording is a good exposure of the real Trump. He and Bill Clinton used to be golfing buddies

    • .... October 10, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      another profound statement for dumbob.! God bless you Bob

      • Real Life October 11, 2016 at 8:16 am

        Wherever do you get your material? You are like a mentally challenged parrot. Get off the dope son, it’s done made you stupid.

        • .... October 11, 2016 at 8:56 am

          Bless you my beloved brethren

        • .... October 13, 2016 at 4:15 am

          Wherever do you get your material ? you are like a mentally challenged parrot get off the dope stupid. It’s done made you stupidest !

  • Oceansize October 10, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    I guess no one got the Church memo, or the Utah GOP has just gone off the reservation.

    • .... October 10, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      The church memo was sent to Bob’s house

  • Henry October 10, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    The LDS newspaper could’ve saved time and just reprinted the recent column by loyal adherent Glenn Beck, which called electing Hillary Clinton “a moral, ethical choice”. The way that Beck’s media empire is unraveling, the LDS newspaper or the St George News may soon be able to hire Beck as a reporter (look out, Mori Kessler! ). LOL

  • .... October 11, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Oh I’m sure there are plenty of deplorable RealLowlifes out there supporting the Queen of 12 lbs of facial make up. !

  • theone October 11, 2016 at 9:31 am

    No surprise here, after all the masses in Utah vote party line no matter the quality of a candidate. Kind of reminds me what a flock of sheep look like.
    Bahaaaaa bahaaaaaa.

    Hi Henry

    • Henry October 11, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Hi theone, appreciate the shoutout to people of “my ilk”. LOL

      I actually fully agree with your comment. The masses in Utah, and particularly its elected officials, obediently fall in line with the directives of the LDS church hierarchy. And the church is backing the GOPe.

      • theone October 11, 2016 at 1:14 pm

        Well there you have it, we have something in common. Now if I could just convince you to vote for the right person we could be friends.

        • Henry October 11, 2016 at 2:22 pm

          Perhaps that’s where we differ. I don’t choose who is or isn’t my friend based upon their political choices (or religious beliefs either, for that matter).

          I look at debate like competing 1-on-1 in sport; we compete against one another hard but clean (no cheap shots), then congratulate each other afterwards for a good game and maybe share a beer.

          • theone October 12, 2016 at 8:45 am

            That’s a good attitude to have and sadly there isn’t much of that kind of debate happening these days. I’m old enough to remember when parties from both sides could drink a beer together with a hand shake agreeing on what goes in a bill.

            As far as religion for me it is fair game when they bring it into the political arena and pass laws that discriminate against a class of people.
            Not to mention the ridiculous things like declaring porn a health crises. Air pollution, suicide, diabetes, mental illness are a health crises, porn is entertainment.

          • Henry October 12, 2016 at 12:24 pm

            I was referring to choosing or not choosing someone as a friend because of their personal religious beliefs.

            I agree with you about the excesses of a particular religion in trying to exercise control over a state’s elected officials. People that agree with the actions of these senior LDS officials should go spend some time in an Islamic country, to see what life can be like for members not of the ruling religion.

          • ladybugavenger October 13, 2016 at 11:38 am

            Did someone say beer? Lol I’m in!

          • Henry October 13, 2016 at 5:09 pm

            If you make a road trip out here, Ladybug – you, me, theone, Bob, Dumpster, and all the other denizens of St George News will sit down for a beer and solve all the world’s problems! LOL

          • .... October 13, 2016 at 5:40 pm

            Beer and Cheetos. !!

  • rockdoc October 13, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Read the headline. The REAL issue is that the Utah Republican Chair reaffirms support for Trump. Thank you Dave Evans! I’m glad to read that the captain is still in on the bridge of the rusty old bucket GOP. The problem is not Trump, it is the Party that allowed the pirate to board. The Grand Old Party was a great ship in her day, wasn’t she? Think of some of the centrist statesmen she has produced for Utah in the past: Robert Bennett, Olene Walker, Jon Huntsman. I am sure that Cap’n Evans has been aware of his crew running for the lifeboats when she started taking on water. We appreciate you Cap’n for staying with her ‘til the last. Don’t forget to stay the jib and furl the muns’l before she goes down.

    • Henry October 13, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      My turn for an allegorical response. LOL:

      No worries Cap’n Rockdoc. If the ship goes down, the survivors will be rescued by a ship from the Mormonic Republic of Utah. Their elitist leaders control this end of the world with an iron fist. But beware Cap’n, such safety is fleeting.

      Just as Great Britain formerly ruled the waves, today the Globalists control the figurative high seas. The Mormonic Republic of Utah leaders think that they can pay the imperial tribute to the Globalists and be left alone, but there is no escaping the Globalists’ insatiable hunger for more. As in the words of “Rule Britainnia”, they are “the dread and envy of them all”.

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