This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated.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.
Akron, Ohio • Utah's delegation to the Republican National Convention might not love Donald Trump and pine for an alternative, but they "have to get over it," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, who sponsored a breakfast Monday for the largely Anti-Trump group.
Hatch is in Ohio to act as a surrogate for the presumptive nominee, speaking not only to Utahns, but to delegations from other states throughout the week.
He used Trump's slogan "Make American Great Again!" and said hesitant Republicans should keep in mind that the next president will likely change the balance of the Supreme Court.
"He deserves our support," Hatch said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune. "I think the sooner they accept that, the better off we are all going to be and then we can get behind him and hopefully help him win."
While delegates ate their eggs and bacon in their hotel in Akron, Ohio, about 30 miles from the convention center in Cleveland, Hatch, peppered them with compliments, saying "I'm proud of all of you." He also invited other Utah elected officials to say a few words and in the process highlighted just how fractured the delegation is on the first day of Trump's big week.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said this was his fifth convention.
"Each one has a little different flavor and this one has a really different flavor," he said. Herbert applauded Trump's selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate. Pence is a more traditional Republican politician than the bombastic real-estate developer.
"Governor Pence does bring a lot to the ticket," Herbert said. "Maybe he is the silver lining in a very clouded horizon, at least for me."
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who has been one of the most outspoken anti-Trump delegates, told the Utahns, "The world is never changed by those who stayed home. Thanks for showing up, even if you don't want to be here... we are doing our duty."
In an interview, he said he won't support Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, but at this point, he can't vote for Trump, who he doesn't believe has the temperament to be president.
"I understand why some people will support Donald, but there are others who just can't get themselves there," Cox said. "I'm still holding out hope for a miracle here in the next few days."
The last, best hope of stopping Trump died last week at the convention's rules committee, when a group that included Sen. Mike Lee and his wife, Sharon, failed to allow delegates to back any candidate, regardless of the results of primaries or caucuses in the states.
Lee told the Utah gathering that he'll vote against the convention rules later Monday, in what is expected to be a series of protest actions.
"I think we have a package of rules that don't serve us well," he said to applause. "Let's stand strong and remember what we stand for."
Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes isn't a delegate, but came to Cleveland as a strong Trump supporter. He said Utah's delegation can "fight like family" and he urged them to "vote your conscience, but at the end of the day we can not have Hillary Clinton as the president of this country."
Trump came in a distant third in Utah's presidential caucus and recent polling shows him with a small lead in one of the most conservative states in the nation, but Hatch urged the delegates to give him another chance.
He said Trump is maturing as a candidate, tamping down his rhetoric that has alienated many minority groups and women.
To prove his point, Hatch mentioned two meetings Trump had with senators where he "handled himself very, very well," even though the most publicized moment was an argument between Trump and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.
Hatch said as he left the meeting, he thought: "My gosh, we've got somebody who could be a great president of the United States."