Are Utah Republicans mad at Cox for transgender veto, Tucker Carlson rant?

Gov. Spencer Cox acquired a wave of detrimental nationwide consideration when Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson used a deceptive and edited video as a part of a tirade earlier this month towards the Utah Republican for, amongst different issues, sharing his most well-liked pronouns in a web-based dialog with highschool college students.

But the governor — although his personal social gathering’s chairman, Carson Jorgensen, joined Carlson’s April 11 program to say Cox is out of step with GOP delegates — mentioned he’s not regarding himself with the political penalties.

Asked Thursday throughout his month-to-month PBS Utah information convention how he thinks Carlson and Jorgensen’s feedback may impression him politically, Cox mentioned, “Oh, you know, I don’t know, nor do I care to be perfectly honest.”

Cox famous that he wrote in his veto letter he knew there can be “political repercussions” for his motion on the invoice handed by the Utah Legislature that bans transgender women from competing in feminine faculties sports activities, which lawmakers swiftly overrode and tweaked to handle a few of his considerations.

“That’s how it works. And that’s OK. But I try to do the right thing for the right reasons, regardless of the consequences. And I will continue to do that,” Cox mentioned.

The governor added he believes “most Utahns admire that, even if they disagree … that we’re not always just pandering” or making selections primarily based off of ballot outcomes or no matter speaking heads on cable information say they need to do.

“That’s making us dumber as a society,” Cox mentioned. “We can have disagreements and we can have deep thought.”

Cox mentioned transgender sports activities “is a very difficult issue,” however he’s been “pleasantly surprised” by how many individuals learn his whole, 4 12 web page veto letter, by which he empathized with the 4 transgender Utah college students the ban would impression. He mentioned of the individuals he’s talked to concerning the veto, “99%” mentioned they understood why he made the choice he did, even when they disagreed with him.

“I would also point out that 100% of Republicans in our Legislature agreed with me that that law was screwed up and they had to fix it, and they did,” Cox mentioned, referring to modifications lawmakers made to the invoice to handle authorized legal responsibility considerations.

‘Whatever happens … happens’

Cox mentioned it’s “frustrating” the general public sphere tends to “focus on stuff that doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.” He mentioned his group did “incredible things” in partnership with the Utah Legislature this 12 months, however one invoice — the transgender sports activities ban — overshadowed all of it.

“There were 513 pieces of legislation that passed, some amazing things that would surprise Utahns, blow their minds, big things that impact their daily lives … that they never heard about and probably will never hear about,” Cox mentioned.

“Conversely there was one bill that I didn’t like, and everyone knows about that bill … and it impacted four people,” he mentioned.

Above all, Cox mentioned he’s not involved with the fallout from his veto or the Carlson phase.

“Look, if our polling numbers go down a little bit, that’s what happens. That’s part of government. If you’re just governing to keep your poll numbers up, then you’re not leading,” he mentioned. “So we’re going to continue to govern and do the things that we feel are right and best for the state of Utah, and whatever happens in 2 12 years happens.”

Cox has mentioned he does intend to run for reelection in 2024. On Thursday, he advised reporters he stands by his pledge to solely serve two phrases. Asked if he expects to face a main challenger, he mentioned he doesn’t know.

“That’s so far away,” he mentioned. “I’ve still got a couple of years before I have to worry or think about that.”


Gov. Spencer Cox speaks throughout his month-to-month information convention at PBS Utah on the Eccles Broadcast Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 21, 2022.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Cox mentioned his administration is concentrated on altering state authorities to be “much more responsive to the people”

“And we’re getting there. It takes time. It’s like turning a giant ship,” he mentioned. “But we’re just hitting our stride, and it’s going to take us eight years to get everything accomplished that we promised we would accomplish. But we are well on our way, and I would love the opportunity to finish the job.”

Cox could also be proper to shrug off whether or not his veto or Carlson’s detrimental segments could have any important impression on him politically.

At the tip of his first 12 months as governor, a stable 60% of Utahns accredited of Cox’s job efficiency, in line with a Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics ballot carried out final November.

The most up-to-date Deseret News/Hinckley Institute ballot, which was carried out April 5-12, the identical week Carlson’s present aired, discovered Cox’s approval score has solely barely dipped for the reason that November ballot — with 58% of Utahns who approve and 31% who disapprove of his job efficiency.


The ballot carried out by Dan Jones & Associates has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 share factors. The survey nonetheless, may not have captured all of Utahns’ reactions to the phase with Jorgensen that aired the night of April 11.

“I’ve spent the last six weeks out with the county conventions, and there’s a lot of people that are really upset with what’s happening. And I don’t know if I’d call it buyer’s remorse, but this kind of woke ideology is where we have to be careful,” Jorgensen advised Carlson on the present.

Cox not attending state GOP conference

The final time Cox appeared earlier than Utah Republican Party delegates throughout their 2021 state conference, he was booed together with Sen. Mitt Romney.

Both Cox, who has been an outspoken ally for LGBTQ points, and Romney, whovoted to question former President Donald Trump, have taken at instances average approaches to conservative wedge points — strikes which have annoyed a number of the far-right wings of Utah’s GOP.

Asked if he’s involved about whether or not he would obtain a cold reception at this 12 months’s GOP conference on Saturday, Cox mentioned he’s “not concerned at all” given he mentioned he’s been acquired warmly by delegates at a number of current county conventions.

However, Cox mentioned he truly received’t be attending resulting from a deliberate commerce mission to Mexico this weekend.

“Sadly, and I feel terrible about this, I actually won’t be able to attend Saturday — not because I don’t want to. It’s the exact opposite,” Cox mentioned. “We’ve actually had a trade mission to Mexico scheduled for over a year. It’s been canceled three times because of COVID.”

Cox mentioned the commerce mission was beforehand scheduled at first of April however “it got bumped to this week.” Cox mentioned he’s “excited” to go since will probably be his first commerce mission as governor, “but very sad I won’t be able to be there with the delegates.”

Cox did observe, nonetheless, that Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson will attend the conference in his stead, “and I anticipate that she will be well received as well.”

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