This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Don Peay says the 54 percent of Utah voters especially Mormon Republicans who didn't cast their presidential ballots for Donald Trump need to do at least one thing: repent.
The former head of the Trump campaign in the Beehive State told the Utah County Republican Women group Monday night, according to Provo's Daily Herald, that "the people who did not get behind Trump probably need to look at themselves in the mirror and say, 'Maybe I need to show a little bit of humility and ask for forgiveness, because I was wrong.' "
Peay, a Latter-day Saint and founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, called out Utahns who voted for independent Evan McMullin as misguided, backing a candidate with no shot at winning the White House.
McMullin, a fellow Mormon and an ex-CIA operative, finished third in the state at 22 percent, behind Democrat Hillary Clinton's 27 percent and Trump's 46 percent.
Peay said the GOP nominee, who carried Utah with far less support than Republicans usually net, struggled to gain traction because of his "language" and "colorful past."
"Sometimes, [Mormons] forget about repentance and forgiveness," Peay said in the Daily Herald story.
He pointed to Trump's anti-abortion stance and his successful family as evidence that the new president aligns with LDS values.
"At some point, we need to wrap our brains around this as Utahns and as Mormons," Peay is quoted as saying. "How did we miss probably the most important election in our lifetime over religious liberty and freedom?"
After Trump's upset victory, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congratulated the new commander in chief and urged all Americans to pray for his administration.
During the campaign, however, the Deseret News, a Salt Lake City newspaper owned by Utah's predominant LDS religion, published an editorial encouraging Trump to bow out of the race after an "Access Hollywood" videotape captured him bragging about groping women.