Updated May 30, 2024 - News

Utah's leading Republicans weigh in after Trump verdict

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks during a January news conference in the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks during a January news conference in the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Utah's top elected officials — overwhelmingly Republican — began to weigh in Thursday evening after a New York jury convicted former President Trump of all 34 criminal counts in his hush-money trial.

The big picture: Although Trump won Utah by a 20-point margin in 2020, Utah voters have historically been cooler on him than on other Republicans.

  • The culture is also big on obedience, so blasting a judge or jury on the heels of a criminal conviction might be needlessly risky here.

Yes, but: The GOP base is firmly in Trump's corner — and has become less apologetic since the "Grab 'em by the p****" days of 2016.

Driving the news: Gov. Spencer Cox responded to an Axios query Thursday evening, calling it "a dark day for our country" and arguing that the charges shouldn't have been filed.

  • U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens blamed the verdict on "a political and biased judge," though the verdict was decided by a jury.

Zoom in: A few other Utah political names came out swinging:

  • "A sad day for America," U.S. Sen. Mike Lee wrote in a statement posted to X, in which he blamed "unclear charges and irregular jury instructions" and characterized the case as a "political prosecution."
  • State Sen. Todd Weiler (R-Kaysville) called it the "weaponization of the justice system."

Catch up quick: Lee has been floated as a possible vice presidential candidate in Trump's re-election campaign.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comments from Cox and Owens.

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Salt Lake City.

More Salt Lake City stories