POLITICS & ELECTIONS

Gov. Cox facing backlash after speech at the 2024 GOP state convention

May 2, 2024, 10:04 PM

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox speaks during the Utah Republican Party state nominating convention at the...

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox speaks during the Utah Republican Party state nominating convention at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday. (Marielle Scott, Deseret News)

(Marielle Scott, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox is facing backlash after his speech at the 2024 Utah GOP state convention stirred up a divide among the Republican party.

When Cox began his speech, he was met with booing and other outbursts from delegates who seemed to find his actions this term unsatisfactory.

After receiving this reaction from the audience, Cox mentioned other officials in GOP history that were jeered, some eventually winning in primary elections.

Cox listed his works this term and said he was proud of what he did during the recent legislative season.

That list included signing legislation regarding the largest tax-cut in Utah history, constitutional carrypro-life legislation, and school choice.

“Maybe you hate that I sent troops to the border and have support from Gov. Abbott from Texas. Maybe you hate the 60 lawsuits that we’ve filed against President Biden administration. Maybe you hate that we stopped DEI and ESG and CRT,” Cox said.

He said the real issue at hand was hate.

“Maybe you just hate that I don’t hate enough,” Cox said.

As the governor continued, so did booing from attendees.

“What I love about real Utah Republicans is that you are architects, not arsonists. You love our state. You care about our neighbors. We disagree passionately but treat each other with respect. That is the true spirit of the Republican Party that I know and that I love,” Cox said near the end of his speech.

GOP counties respond

On Thursday, the Iron County Republican Party Executive Committee sent a letter calling on Cox to “Rescind divisive, false, and inflammatory statements.”

In the letter, members of this committee shared concern that negative approaches may increase campaign shifts and lead to more disrespect among delegates.

Incumbent Republicans forced into primaries in drawn-out GOP state convention

While we do not approve of booing as an effective form of communication with our representatives, Spencer Cox’s response was no better, and as the governor, and as a Republican leader, Republican voters expect better leadership,” the letter stated.

The committee also said that if the speech were more positive and unifying, voting outcomes may have been different, noting the 29% of votes Cox received.

“We call upon Governor Cox to disagree better, to rescind his divisive, false, and inflammatory remarks, and to apologize to the Utah Republican Party organization, the Republican voters of Utah, and the duly elected volunteer State Delegates who represent them on the local level,” the letter said.

On Monday, the Salt Lake County Republican Party posted a message on Facebook following the GOP state convention, calling his comments “disheartening.”

They end the letter congratulating Phil Lyman, who received 67.54% of votes in the final round.

In regards to that event, Yemi Arunsi, Davis County GOP Chair, posted a letter to Facebook crediting elected Delegates’ hard volunteer work and dedicated time to fulfill their civil duty. 

“Despite efforts to deem them inconsequential, they remain integral to a system that fosters community engagement, meaningful dialogue, and above all, opportunity,” Arunsi said.

Arunsi credits the caucus/convention format as beneficial.

“I firmly believe any lack of decorum on display last weekend was the exception, not the rule. While the system may not be perfect, it is upheld by citizens who are dedicated to improving the political landscape — and they deserve our appreciation.”

KSL reports that Cox received 28.86% of votes after the first round of voting and 32.46% after the final round during the GOP state convention.

KSL 5 TV Live

Politics & Elections

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hea...

Rashard Rose and Jack Forrest, CNN

Romney says if he were president he would have immediately pardoned Trump

Sen. Mitt Romney said that if he were president he would have “immediately pardoned” former President Donald Trump.

1 day ago

Landscape fabric covers the ground at a legal cannabis farm near Brewster, in north-central Washing...

Lindsay Whitehurst, Associated Press

Justice Department formally moves to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug in historic shift

The Justice Department has formally moved to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, a historic shift in generations of U.S. drug policy.

1 day ago

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National Peace Officers M...

Alanna Durkin Richer and Colleen Long

White House blocks release of Biden’s special counsel interview audio, says GOP is being political

The White House has blocked the release of audio from President Joe Biden’s interview with a special counsel about his handling of classified documents.

2 days ago

Fourth District congressional candidate Jake Hunsaker answers questions next to an empty podium dur...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah’s primary debates begin June 10

The Utah Debate Commission will host its series of local and federal primary debates starting June 10 ahead of Utah’s primary election on June 25.

2 days ago

FILE: Signs promoting the vice presidential debate are pictured on the University of Utah campus in...

Lindsay Aerts

Trump and Biden plan to skip October presidential debate in Utah

A planned presidential debate in October at the University of Utah is in serious jeopardy of officially being called off.

3 days ago

FILE: Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks to the media prior to talks with German Chancellor O...

Karel Janicek

Slovakia’s populist prime minister shot multiple times in attempted assassination

Slovakia’s populist prime minister has been shot multiple times and gravely wounded after a political event.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Gov. Cox facing backlash after speech at the 2024 GOP state convention