Lt. Gov. Henderson says school board member Cline’s actions ‘a new low,’ calls for resignation

Feb 8, 2024, 12:48 PM | Updated: 7:19 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson called on embattled state school board member Natalie Cline to resign.

In an interview with KSL TV Thursday afternoon, Henderson said Cline’s social media post about a local female student-athlete that insinuated she was a boy was “a new low.”

“I think that if she had any self-respect or dignity or cared at all about these kids, she would recognize that she’s really crossed a line,” Henderson said, “and she would take that responsibility on her shoulders and resign.”

Republican lawmakers condemn Cline

Meanwhile, Utah legislative leaders blasted Cline for her post and said they were considering impeachment proceedings against the Utah State Board of Education member.

“What she did was reprehensible,” said Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, “and we condemn it.”

Adams said leaders were “looking” at the possibility of impeachment, which can be initiated by the Utah Legislature.

“We’d want to make sure that the elected officials have the opportunity to make the decisions and give them some time to try to walk through this,” said Adams.

Adams did not say outright that Cline should resign, but Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, did.

“I would prefer that she step down,” Vickers said while noting that it’s her choice.

Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, who has sponsored multiple LGBTQ-related bills, also called for Cline’s resignation Thursday.

“A child should never be targeted by adults, let alone an elected official,” Birkeland said.

House Speaker Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, released a statement with the Utah House Majority Caucus, saying the caucus is looking into what they can do to reprimand Cline.

“We are considering all available options within our constitutional authority moving forward,” the majority caucus statement said.

The majority caucus says Cline’s social media posts were “thoughtless and baseless claims” and “to harass a child is unacceptable and inexcusable.”

“We care about this young victim’s safety and wellbeing and join our community and state in surrounding her and her family with love and support. She deserves nothing less,” the caucus said.

Cline faced immediate and swift pushback after the now-deleted post, including sharp condemnation from Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, who said Cline had “embarrassed the state of Utah and State Board of Education.”

Democrats push for impeachment

House Minority Leader Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, told KSL TV that House Democrats “have looked at impeachment possibilities,” and she planned to meet soon with the House speaker to discuss possible next steps.

“Our goal is to file an impeachment,” Romero said. “My understanding is there’s great concern in both the House and the Senate on both (the) Republican and Democrat side.”

Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, said that Cline should step down before it gets to that point.

“That would be very helpful if she resigns immediately,” Escamilla said.

In a statement, Senate Democrats said that Cline’s actions “characterized by the intentional mockery and defamation of a minor student, represent a flagrant violation of the ethical standards, policies, and trust placed in her as a public official. We call for her immediate resignation.”

Senate Democrats said they are working with legal counsel and looking to the impeachment of Cline.

Meanwhile, House Democrats have also called for Cline’s immediate resignation and criticized Republican-led bills dealing with the transgender community, saying such legislation “only worsens this harmful behavior.” Gov. Cox recently signed into law HB257, which restricts transgender people from accessing bathrooms that differ from their biological sex in government buildings, with some exceptions.

Last year, the Legislature passed a bill regulating transgender surgeries and medical treatment for minors. And in 2022, lawmakers overrode Cox’s veto of a bill banning transgender girls from competing in school sports.

“If the Utah Legislature continues to pass laws singling out our trans community members, these incidents may well continue,” Democrats said.

Senate President Adams took issue with that criticism, saying Utah has dealt with LGBTQ issues “probably better than any other state.”

“Those bills are not meant to try to demean or hurt,” Adams said. “They’re actually meant to try to give definition and help.”

In an exclusive interview with KSL TV Wednesday evening, the parents of the student-athlete called Cline’s post “cyberbullying at its finest” and said the post “broke our hearts.”

For her part, Cline issued a statement apologizing to the girl and her family, but she maintained it is “normal to pause and wonder if people are what they say they are because of the push to normalize transgenderism.”

Cline’s social media post was the latest in a string of comments over several years that have led to repeated criticism and even a 2021 reprimand from the USBE.

Contributing: Michael Houck, KSL TV

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah Legislature

Image released as part of a drafted plan to reimagine downtown into an "experience zone." (Smith En...

Lindsay Aerts

SEG downtown plans include new hotel, housing, jumbotron and ‘experience’ plaza

Smith Entertainment Group executive Mike Maughan sat down for an interview with KSL's Lindsay Aerts on Monday to discuss the group's plans for downtown's revitalization.

3 days ago

Four Utah Republicans competing to replace retiring Sen. Mitt Romney in the U.S. Senate squared off...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from Utah GOP candidates fighting to replace Romney

The KSL Investigators put claims from Republican candidates for U.S. Senate through the KSL Truth Test. Here are the facts, context and details you’ll need to get a better picture of the issues.

3 days ago

The outside of the Black Cultural Center at Weber State University in Ogden on Tuesday. It and seve...

Tim Vandenack, KSL.com

Weber State to axe Black, Latino, other cultural centers to comply with new diversity law

Weber State University will eliminate cultural centers for Black, Latino and other students to comply with the new Utah law targeting diversity initiatives.

5 days ago

Prosecutors filed felony charges in a Salt Lake City rape case from 2019, but later reduced them to...

Daniella Rivera

Could making this change help Utah improve sexual assault prosecutions?

Only a fraction of sexual assaults reported to police in Utah result in criminal charges for the perpetrator, but a legislative proposal could potentially change that.

2 months ago

Utah legislators, supporters of the new law, and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson at a press conference to...

Daniel Woodruff

New Utah school safety law earns praise from victims’ families, but cost concerns persist

Family members who lost children in the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history came to Utah to celebrate a new law aimed at making schools safer.

2 months ago

Lehi homes...

Daniel Woodruff

Governor highlights bills to help Utah homebuyers, but will they make a difference?

Gov. Spencer Cox on Thursday highlighted several new bills he just signed into law that are aimed at getting more buyers into the market.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Lt. Gov. Henderson says school board member Cline’s actions ‘a new low,’ calls for resignation