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It's their party and Utah delegates are crying not because they want to, but because Trump's on the ticket

Published July 18, 2016 9:47 am

Dissatisfaction with Trump is keeping big names away, but Utah's delegates feel obligated.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It will be a sense of duty that brings Utah's delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week for the nomination of Donald Trump — a candidate many don't want, some may not vote for in November, and others still hope to derail.

David Pyne, an alternate delegate and co-leader of the "Dump Trump" movement in Utah, warned that nominating the billionaire businessman would be a disaster for the GOP, leading to a defeat of historic proportions and potentially a loss of Republican control of Congress.

"I have never been more embarrassed and ashamed of a presumptive presidential nominee than I have been with Donald Trump," the West Jordan resident said. "He is the most dishonest and dishonorable man who has ever run for the Republican nomination for president, and he is devoid of any core political principles or moral character."



He's not alone.

The Salt Lake Tribune surveyed Utah's delegates — before Trump named Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate — and found widespread disappointment with the party's standard-bearer.

"Honestly, I'm ashamed," said South Jordan resident Ryan McCoy, who will go to Cleveland because he made that commitment when he ran to be a delegate but is unlikely to vote for Trump in November.

"I'm sick," said alternate delegate Michelle Scharf, of Layton.

Delegate Marianne Henderson, of Alpine, worries about Trump's integrity and ability to lead the country.

"I do not consider myself a hard-core feminist," she said, "but, as a woman, I have problems with him on many levels."

Such comments offer a stark contrast from four years ago, when an exuberant group flocked to Tampa, Fla., braving the threat of a hurricane, to watch Utah's darling, Mitt Romney, accept the party's presidential nod.

Even the festivities for the 2016 delegation appear less festive than four years ago, with the normal daily group breakfasts still up in the air and just one official event — a field trip to Kirtland, Ohio, the early headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — on the itinerary.

First-term Rep. Mia Love, who spoke at the GOP's 2012 national convention, won't be going to Cleveland. Neither will Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox had held off on deciding, but ultimately opted he had an obligation to attend.

Former Utah U.S.Rep. Enid Mickelsen of Utah was at the center of the fight to try to deny Trump the nomination this past week as head of the Rules Committee. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and his wife, Sharon, also served on that panel, which decided not to free delegates to vote for a candidate of their choosing — essentially assuring Trump the nomination.

Marcus Jessop, a delegate from Vineyard, said he will be at the convention, which begins Monday, so he can tell his children he was part of the process and to try to serve as a role model for others.

"As an American Samoan, I hope my presence at the convention will aid Polynesians and minorities in general to become more active in their community, regardless of political affiliation," he said.

So despite their anti-Trump sentiments, Utah's delegates are, by and large, begrudgingly following through on the commitment they made to be part of the convention.

Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton, for example, is disappointed "to say the least" that Trump will be the GOP nominee, but is eager to go to Cleveland.

"I was elected to represent Utah and plan to fulfill that responsibility," she said. "This is like [Mormon] General Conference for Republicans, so I'm super-excited to be there for the first time."

Salt Lake City delegate Kris Kimball said he is skeptical of Trump's conservative bona fides and would "prefer a Republican to be the Republican nominee," but is enthusiastic about attending.

"I'm excited to be part of what I think will be an historical event," she said. "I love that I can be there firsthand and witness what takes place, instead of being fed a storyline orchestrated through the mainstream media."

Despite the reservations about Trump's fitness for the presidency, there is one person that the delegates seem to dislike even more: presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

"I'm still not sure who I will vote for [in November], but I know for sure that it will not be Hillary," said former state Rep. Chris Herrod, of Provo, who helped organize Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's Utah operation. (Cruz handily won Utah's Republican primary.) "She is corrupt, treats people much worse than Trump and is just as immoral."

Alternate delegate David Mallinak, of Ogden, said he will support Trump in hopes that he follows through on his immigration-reform proposals.

"As I see it, if Hillary is elected, America loses. If she keeps her promises, we are finished," he said. "If Trump does what he says he will do, we might at least get a handle on immigration. We absolutely must do something about that."

gehrke@sltrib.com Twitter: @RobertGehrke A Trump coronation

When • Monday through Thursday

Where • Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland

Speakers • See related stories, graphic › A9, 10

Roll call • Tuesday is when Donald Trump's name would be placed into nomination

Acceptance speech • Nominee would likely close the convention on Thursday night

Sources: Wire reports

 

 

 

 

 

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