Utah's Lt. Gov. endorses Ted Cruz, condemns Trump's comments on Romney

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox condemns Donald Trump's remarks about Mitt Romney's religion (Photo: Meghan Thackrey/KUTV)

(KUTV) Utah's lieutenant governor says he knows who he will vote for in Tuesday's Republican caucus - and it's not Donald Trump.

Speaking at a rally Saturday afternoon in Provo, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox announced he will support Sen. Ted Cruz.

"It's time to unify around a true conservative," Cox said.

The lieutenant governor also had some strong words for Trump, who held a rally Friday night in Salt Lake City and made some controversial comments about Mitt Romney's religion.

"I have many friends who live in Salt Lake," Trump said. "By the way, Mitt Romney is not one of them. Did he choke? Did this guy choke? He's a choke artist. I can't believe. Are you sure he's a Mormon? Are we sure?"

The two have been at odds lately ever since Romney publicly blasted Trump and called him a "phony."

Cox told the Provo crowd Saturday he has no tolerance for Trump's words.

"That's not how we roll in Utah, and that's not how we roll in the United States of America," Cox said to loud applause.

Cox called Romney "a great Mormon" and said Trump's words were something he "never thought I would see a candidate for president do and say, especially someone in the Republican Party."

But Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes told 2News Trump's comments were nothing but a "quip" and were received that way by the crowd.

"It was a joke and it was meant that way," Hughes said, adding he feels attempts to condemn the comments are part of a "political game."

Gov. Gary Herbert attended a Ted Cruz rally earlier Saturday in Draper but has declined to endorse a specific candidate before Tuesday's caucuses. His spokesman told 2News the governor is in the "Anybody but Trump" camp.

Herbert also attended a rally for Ohio Gov. John Kasich Friday in Davis County and spoke in support of him.

Follow Daniel Woodruff on Twitter @danielmwoodrufffor breaking news, updates and more.

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