Utah Republicans react to Donald Trump’s speech in Phoenix

Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 19:49:16-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- President Donald Trump went off-script Tuesday night in a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, saying the media purposely painted an inaccurate picture of his response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"I hit them with neo-Nazi," Trump said. "I hit them with everything. I got the white supremacists, the neo-Nazi, I got them all. KKK. We have KKK. I got them all. So they're having a hard time, so what do they say? 'It should've been sooner. He's a racist.'"

It's a speech that left protesters rallying outside and had former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper questioning Trump's fitness to be President.

"I found this downright scary and disturbing,” Clapper said.

However, his core supporters here in Utah choose to focus on his strengths. Senator J. Stuart Adams and Senator Ralph Okerlund, who both strongly backed Donald Trump during his campaign, say he's doing a lot for Utah.

"I don't agree with everybody on everything, I don't think any of us do, and we can either look at the positives or look or look at the negatives; but I think there's a whole lot positive with President Trump's presidency,” Adams sad.

"I believe he's tackled the issues in the West probably better than any President in my recent memory," Okerlund said. "He picked a secretary that's willing to come out here and look and visit with us."

Representative Mia Love, A Republican representing Utah's Fourth Congressional District, says she's not looking to President Trump to direct her decisions.

"I'm not waiting for the President to tell me how to react," Love said. "I'm not waiting for the president to say something on Twitter to know what I'm going to say, or how I'm going to feel, or how I'm going to represent people in the Fourth District."

The president seems determined to follow through on his controversial campaign promises, no matter the cost.

"The obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but, believe me, if we have to close down the government we're building that wall," Trump said.

However, his supporters here at home seem to trust his judgment.

"I'm in favor of a very thorough discussion about immigration policy," Okerlund said.