SALT LAKE CITY — Although several of Utah’s top Republican leaders jumped off the Trump train Friday, a news release from the Utah Republican Party has reaffirmed its support for Donald Trump.
“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,” wrote Utah GOP Party Chairman James Evans. “This election pits those who are disenfranchised by the political establishment against those who benefit from it. Donald Trump seeks to transform the political establishment into one that works on behalf of all of the American people.”
The news release was issued three days after previously unaired footage surfaced of Trump bragging about being able to grope women and trying to have sex with a married woman during a 2005 taping for “Access Hollywood.”
After the footage surfaced, Governor Gary Herbert, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Congresswoman Mia Love and Senator Mike Lee all pulled their endorsements for Trump Friday.
Senator Orrin Hatch, Attorney General Sean Reyes and Congressman Rob Bishop all decried Trump’s comments, but didn’t pull their endorsements.
The Utah Republican Party’s news release also addressed Trump’s comments:
“Donald Trump has apologized for his comments eleven years ago when he was in the environment of Hollywood and the political left. He has professed on many occasions he is not proud of some of his past, and that his heart has changed and he is a better person now. We condemn the degradation of women in any form and condemn the comments he made in this recording. However, I accept Mr. Trump’s profession and trust he is demonstrating the change in his heart today; and I support him as our Republican nominee,” Evans wrote.
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon issued the following response:
“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.”