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Gov. Herbert, Rep. Chaffetz won't support Trump following 'despicable' comments

Sen. Mike Lee asks Trump to "step aside."

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert withdrew his support for Donald Trump on Friday, calling the Republican presidential candidate's comments about women in a 2005 video "beyond offensive and despicable."

"While I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, I will not vote for Trump," Herbert posted on Twitter.

The governor previously said he would vote for Trump, though he insisted it was not an endorsement.

Herbert was among several of Utah's political leaders and prominent figures with ties to the state Friday to condemn comments made by Trump in the leaked video.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee distributed a video message via Facebook and asked Trump to "step aside" and drop out of the election campaign..

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, announced that he will no longer support Trump, saying he found the candidate's comments to be "abhorrent and inexcusable."

"I'm out," he said. "I can no longer endorse Donald Trump to become president of the United States."

According to CNN, Chaffetz is the first sitting Republican member of Congress to withdraw his support for Trump.

Chaffetz also took issue with Trump's response to the video being made public.

"He was apologizing for getting caught. He wasn't apologizing for his behavior," he said.

Chaffetz said supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton for president is not an acceptable option, and he expressed support for Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, to replace the billionaire businessman as the Republican nominee.

"I wish Mike Pence was at the top of the ticket," he said. "We'll have to see how things play out."

Rep. Mia Love, who along with Sen. Lee are the only members of Utah's all-Republican congressional delegation to never endorse Trump, called the candidate's comments "disappointing and disgusting," according to her campaign manager, Dave Hansen.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, labeled Trump's comments "offensive and disgusting," though he did not withdraw his endorsement of the GOP candidate.

"There is no excuse for such degrading behavior," Hatch said in a statement. "All women deserve to be treated with respect."

Stewart and fellow GOP Rep. Rob Bishop also have endorsed Trump in the presidential race.

Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2012, took to Twitter to respond to the video, which showed Trump boasting about groping women and trying to have sex with them.

"Hitting on married women? Condoning assault?" Romney tweeted. "Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world."

Trump's comments were made during a conversation with Billy Bush, who at the time hosted entertainment news TV show "Access Hollywood." The Associated Press reported that it appears Trump didn't know his microphone was on.

Evan McMullin, a Utah native and BYU graduate who is running an independent campaign for the presidency, called on Republican leaders to ask for Trump to drop out of the race.

"We all need to ask our other elected leaders who are supporting Donald Trump, or who are remaining silent, to reject him and to call for his stepping out of the race, or at least the rejection of this kind of abuse of women and disrespect for marriage," McMullin told KSL Newsradio's Drew Steele on "Your Voice, Your Vote."

Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, who has frequently denounced Trump, also expressed his outrage on Twitter. Cox quoted a line from "To Kill A Mockingbird" that he said "seems appropriate today."

"I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide majority rule is a person's conscience," character Atticus Finch is quoted in the book.

Cox also tweeted a text from his wife calling Trump a "repugnant, evil, vomit-inducing nominee."

Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. also called for Pence to replace Trump as the Republican nominee, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

"In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Gov. Pence to lead the ticket,” Huntsman told the Tribune.

Attempts to reach Huntsman, who recently endorsed Trump, were not successful Friday.

House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, who has previously endorsed Trump, said in a statement that he feels "anger and disgust" at the nominee's words, but he stopped short of withdrawing his support for the billionaire businessman.

"The emotions I'm feeling this evening range from shock and bewilderment to anger and disgust," Hughes said in his statement.

"To say I am disappointed would be a gross understatement. I share the same questions and concerns that the rest of this country has. In the coming debate, there will undoubtedly be questions about what we learned today. My hope is that there will be a sincere apology and an accounting for these statements," Hughes said.

Lauren Littlefield, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, said Trump's remarks in the video "take things to a new low" for a candidate "not fit for the presidency."

"We commend Gary Herbert, Greg Hughes, Jason Chaffetz, Jon Huntsman Jr. and the other Trump supporters who are now reconsidering their stance on the presidential race. We encourage all Utahns to do the same," Littlefield said in a statement.

"Our vote in this election is too important to cast based solely out of party loyalty. Donald Trump does not represent Utah values, and we urge voters to study the candidates and the issues both at the top of the ticket and all the way down the ballot,” she said.

Charlene Albarran, a Democrat challenging Stewart in Utah's 2nd Congressional District, called Trump's statements "lewd and gross" and pointed to such "sexism" as a reason more women are needed in leadership positions.

"This demeaning treatment can no longer be tolerated," Albarran said in a statement. "We need more women in politics. We need more women in authoritative positions who will demand respect."


Twitter: benlockhartnews