Salt Lake County GOP Chairman Resigns Following Email Attacking Accusers
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The chairman of the Salt Lake County Republican Party on Sunday announced his resignation following a recent email to delegates that criticized women who had made allegations against him.
Scott Miller sent the email on Friday, ahead of an article published in the Salt Lake Tribune, which detailed accusations from Republican women about a “bullying culture” and “toxic” behavior.
A total of seven women came forward, but it appears the alleged harassment may have gone further than them. Derek Brown, state chairman of the republican party, said other individuals, including men, have come forward saying they had a similar experience.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Brown. “If someone is in a position of power or authority, they should never act like this and frankly, no one should ever act this way.”
According to the article, the women shared stories of Miller’s communications director, Dave Robinson, body shaming them, calling them degrading nicknames, and threatening to withhold campaign resources “unless they wrote opinion pieces about his pet issues.”
The Salt Lake Tribune reported the women brought the issues to Miller, but nothing came of their complaints.
Deseret News reports Miller sent an email to the county Republican Party delegates and named seven women specifically, accusing them of being “sore losers who failed to win their respective races.”
On Saturday, Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson issued a joint statement condemning Miller’s letter, calling the communication to the county’s delegates “reprehensible.”
“This type of behavior should never happen and when it does we will not tolerate it, ignore it, or explain it away,” according to the statement. “It is unacceptable. The Republican Party needs women in our policymaking and discussions.”
Cox and Henderson expressed their apologies to the woman women who were victimized, writing that, “… we admire their courage and strength in coming forward. That is not an easy thing to do.”
Henderson also tweeted that she was “heartbroken to learn that women who stepped up to run for political office faced harassment and discrimination from people who were supposed to be helping them.”
I’m heartbroken to learn that women who stepped up to run for political office faced harassment and discrimination from people who were supposed to be helping them. It’s never ok to normalize, enable, or dismiss this kind of behavior. #istandwithmysistershttps://t.co/HInGE86pCa
— Deidre Henderson (@DeidreHenderson) March 28, 2021
On Saturday, the Utah GOP issued a statement in which they called the allegations against Miller and Robinson “appalling.”
“Miller made a statement which read as an attempt to shield both he and Robinson from forthcoming allegations of bullying, intimidation, and harassment that they knew would soon be made public in an article that was released (Saturday),” the statement reads. “Ironically, his statement proceeded to bully, intimidate, and harass individual women, by name, not only substantiating their allegations, but perhaps providing a public example of what they may have experienced privately.”
Republican Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton was one of the women publicly listed in Miller’s email.
She said she learned about the harassment six months ago.
“I had two of the female candidates come to me last fall and express concerns of abuse and harassment,” she said. “They were being held hostage from their websites and email accounts as well as being called names that were inappropriate.”
Newton claims she became a target when she brought the issues to Miller.
Then Miller sent his letter out to Republican Party delegates and Newton became even more upset.
“I was pretty mad when I saw that letter. We have been enduring abuse and harassment from these guys for the last six months and so then to have them blast out an email to thousands of republicans throughout the state blaming us for things that aren’t even true was pretty frustrating.”
On Sunday, she tweeted a copy of Miller’s resignation letter, thanking the county’s Republican Executive Committee.
— Aimee Winder Newton (@AWinderNewton) March 28, 2021
Miller’s letter reads in full:
Dear Executive Committee Members,
Thank you for your service to the Salt Lake County Republican Party. It has been my honor to serve with you over the past 3 years as the Chair of the Salt Lake County Republican Party.
However, I made a mistake with how I handled the complaints lodged by Republican women and my recent communications.
This morning, Sunday, March 28, 2021, I am immediately resigning my position as the Salt Lake County Republican Party Chairman.
SLCoGOP Chairman (resigned)
Utah Republican Party Chairman Derek Brown late Sunday morning released a statement in response to Miller’s resignation, saying he supports it.
“Yesterday’s public revelation of David Robinson’s abhorrent behavior towards some of the most respected women in our party, and Miller’s own role in that behavior, show me we have work to do,” he wrote. “Before ever speaking with the press, these women bravely raised their concerns with county party leadership, and nothing was done. That is unacceptable.”
The Utah GOP will elect a new county chairperson May 1, according to Brown.
“I have seen, firsthand, how many women face an uphill battle in the political arena, including within my own party,” Brown wrote. “We have more work to do, and I am committed to doing it. … I am confident our delegates will elect a chair committed to continuing this work, and ensuring that no woman ever has a similar experience again.”
He added that the Republican Party in Utah is committed to “continuing to recruit, support, and help elect amazing female candidates.”
KSL has reached out to Miller for a comment, but did not hear back.
The state republican party said this incident gives them a chance to fix a problem and create a better reporting system so this kind of thing never happens again.
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