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Utah delegates have lives threatened at Republican National Convention

Utah delegates have life threatened at Republican National Convention (Photo: Marcie Cancio / KUTV)
Utah delegates have life threatened at Republican National Convention (Photo: Marcie Cancio / KUTV)
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(KUTV) Over the past week, as Republicans prepared and began to flock to Cleveland for the their party's national convention, two Utah delegates were threatened with their lives.

The most recent happened Monday night to first-time delegate Kera Birkeland, after Utah Sen. Mike Lee called for a roll call count that the RNC refused to hold, saying it might damage party unity.

Birkeland, who is from Morgan County, said she was in the restroom about half an hour after Lee's floor fight when two women approached her and, she said, told her "you should die."

"I opened the bathroom stall door," Birkeland said Tuesday from the convention floor, "and there were two women who started telling me I was stupid and that I was horrible."

She said she has no idea whether the women followed and waited for her or if they simply noticed the Utah delegation credential hanging around her neck.

"I was caught off guard," she said. "I don't know if they were planted there to attack or if they were just there and tensions were hot."

Birkeland tried to disengage and moved to the sinks to wash her hands, but the women persisted.

"They continued on that I should die, that the police force should be pulled off the Utah delegation [and] we should get behind Trump," she recalled.

Not wanting to escalate the situation, she did not fight. Birkeland said she then explained her stance and that of the delegation.

"It shook me a little bit -- well quite a bit -- and I cried," she said. "I was pretty upset."

On Tuesday, Birkeland was on the convention floor, unwilling to let the night before deter her desire to represent Utah. She did however decide to keep a lower profile, covering her credential to hide her Utah affiliation, and is now reconsidering whether she'd choose to be a delegate again.

"The bathroom didn't ruin [it], but feeling like ... we don't have a really say may have changed my opinion on coming back," she said.

Birkeland, however, said she hopes threats wouldn't deter anyone from taking part in politics and voting their conscience.

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"It takes a lot of good people who stand up for what they believe in," she said. "It will take a lot more tolerance, kindness and appreciation for the people who are serving."

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