Some Utah Republicans dump Trump in light of video, others don't
(KUTV) Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced Friday they will not vote for Donald Trump in the wake of a leaked video showing the Republican Party’s presidential nominee making vulgar remarks about women.
Rep. Chris Stewart also pulled his support and joined Sen. Mike Lee, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. and -- as of Saturday -- Rep. Mia Love in calling for the billionaire businessman to leave the race.
This all comes after video surfaced Friday afternoon of a 2005 conversation in which Trump is heard talking with then-Access Hollywood co-host Billy Bush about groping women and trying to have sex with a woman he admits was married.
"Donald Trump's statements are beyond offensive & despicable," Herbert tweeted Friday evening. "While I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, I will not vote for Trump."
This is a reversal from Herbert's August endorsement of the GOP nominee, although he has never been an enthusiastic supporter of Trump
Rep. Jason Chaffetz also said he is pulling his support.
"I'm out," Chaffetz told 2News in a live 2News interview Friday. "I'm just so disappointed."
Chaffetz said based on text messages he's received Friday evening, he believes other national Republicans will follow suit and dump Trump. He also said he did not know who he will vote for in November -- only that it won't be Trump or Clinton.
"I can't endorse somebody who acts and thinks like this," Chaffetz said.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox told 2News he's never been in Trump's corner -- and he's definitely not now.
“My decision not to support Mr. Trump was solidified months ago,” Cox said in a text message to 2News. “The revelation today makes it that much easier.”
Several prominent voices in Utah are calling for Trump to leave the race altogether.
According to 2News media partner The Salt Lake Tribune, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. said he thinks Trump should let his vice presidential nominee, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, lead the Republican ticket.
After his office originally said he had no comment on Trump's statements, Sen. Mike Lee spoke on Facebook Live late Friday evening and also called on Trump to leave the race.
"Donald Trump is a distraction," Lee said. "It's time for him to step aside so we can focus on the winning ideas that will carry Republicans through to a victory in November."
Rep. Stewart, after staying silent all day Friday, issued a statement just before midnight pulling his support of Trump.
"I am therefore calling for him to step aside and to allow Mike Pence to lead our party," Stewart said.
Other Republicans, while not withdrawing their support, also voiced their disappointment.
"Mr. Trump's comments were offensive and disgusting," said Sen. Orrin Hatch. "There is no excuse for such degrading behavior. All women deserve to be treated with respect."
Hatch did not say whether he planned to pull his endorsement of Trump.
Rep. Mia Love, who had never endorsed Trump, called the video "disappointing and disgusting," according to her campaign manager Dave Hansen. (That statement came after Love's congressional office told 2News earlier Friday she had no comment.) Saturday, she took it a step further.
"I cannot vote for him," Love said in a Facebook post Saturday. "For the good of the party, and the country, he should step aside."
Rep. Rob Bishop did not respond to the video until late Saturday morning. In a statement, Bishop said he was saddened by Trump's comments, but he said he will not pull his support from the GOP nominee.
"The reality is, today my options are limited and Hillary Clinton is unacceptable as a potential president," Bishop said. "Unless he resigns, I must support the Republican nominee as my only option."
Utah Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, who was one of the earliest high-profile politicians in the state to come out in support of Trump, tweeted he felt everything from "shock and bewilderment to anger and disgust" after learning about the video.
"In the coming debate, there will undoubtedly be questions about what we learned today," Hughes wrote. "My hope is that there will be a sincere apology and an accounting for these statements."
Donald Peay, a sportsman and high-profile Trump backer, first called reports of the video “sewer journalism” and said he would only talk about it if the media first reported on a number of issues involving the Clintons.
Apparently, though, Peay made those comments before knowing the specifics of what Trump actually said in the video. He reached out to 2News Friday evening to clarify his stance.
"These comments are serious and they will require serious amends," Peay said, referring to Trump's remarks about women.
Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has a home in Utah and has spoken against Trump, tweeted a strong condemnation Friday.
“Hitting on married women? Condoning assault?” wrote Romney. “Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world.”
Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin, who attended Brigham Young University and has ties to Utah, also responded to the controversy via Twitter.
"If @realDonaldTrump & GOP leaders think it's okay to disrespect marriage and abuse American women, they have no business leading our nation," McMullin wrote.
2News did not hear back from Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans.
Late Friday, Trump's campaign released a video in which the candidate apologized. What effect that has remains to be seen.
Utah Democratic Party executive director Lauren Littlefield released the following statement in response to Friday's developments:
“We've known all along that Donald Trump is not fit for the presidency, but the video remarks leaked today take things to a new low. We commend Gary Herbert, Greg Hughes, Jason Chaffetz, Jon Huntsman, Jr., and the other Trump supporters who are now reconsidering their stance on the presidential race. We encourage all Utahns to do the same. Our vote in this election is too important to cast based solely out of party loyalty. Donald Trump does not represent Utah values, and we urge voters to study the candidates and the issues both at the top of the ticket and all the way down the ballot.”