Governor Herbert sees positive signs of a Trump presidency

Posted at 5:30 PM, Nov 10, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY -- Governor Gary Herbert said he saw positive signs for progress on key agenda items for Republicans under a Donald Trump presidency.

Speaking to reporters at an announcement for members of his new cabinet, the governor weighed in on the election and what it means for Utah. He expressed optimism about a GOP-controlled congress and White House, referencing his longstanding friendship with Vice-President elect Mike Pence.

"From a Republican perspective there's an opportunity here to really govern," he said.

Asked about some of Trump's more controversial positions on immigration and refugees, the governor appeared skeptical those would actually come to pass.

"I know the rhetoric's been a little bit shrill, based on some of the comments we've heard in the past," Gov. Herbert said. "I've also talked with Mike Pence in the past and I think some of that's a little bit hyperbole."

The governor also saw the potential for addressing issues like federal lands and energy development.

Gov. Herbert initially said he would vote for Trump, but then took it back after a tape emerged of the Republican-nominee making offensive remarks about women. On Thursday, the governor refused to say who he ultimately voted for.

He said Trump's biggest task will be uniting the country after the election.

"As divisive as it was, and as unpopular as our two nominees were, there's a lot of work to bring us together," Gov. Herbert said.

As Trump plans to be sworn in as president, there is talk on Utah's Capitol Hill about who could be in his cabinet. House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, has had his name floated for a potential cabinet position. In an interview with FOX 13, Hughes said: "There are stories out there that say that could be a possibility but I have not been in touch."

Hughes, who is a Trump supporter, told FOX 13 he planned to focus on the Utah State Legislature.

"I love being Speaker of the House, we have a term coming in, I just won my reelection, we have a lot of colleagues and so I have a lot of work to do here, and that’s where my focus is," he said.