Sen. Mike Lee casts Utah’s GOP votes for President Trump

(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, answers questions at a town hall in Draper on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. Lee delivered Utah's 40 delegate votes to President Donald Trump on Monday, the first day of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Four years ago, Utah Sen. Mike Lee was part of an effort at the Republican National Convention to replace presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump with his friend and colleague Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas. On Election Day 2016, he cast a protest vote for independent Evan McMullin to register his disdain for Trump.

That was then. This is now.

Monday, Lee answered the roll call of states at the GOP convention in Charlotte, N.C., to proudly and energetically cast all 40 Utah Republican delegate votes for Trump.

“In Utah, we love the Founding Fathers and we love the idea of four more years” of Trump, Lee said.

In recent years, Lee has become a big supporter of the unconventional president, including citing his relentless assault on regulations, his appointment of conservative judges and his efforts to pull back troops from wars that Lee says weren’t properly declared by Congress, as required by the Constitution. He also was a huge fan — along with other Utah Republican elected officials — of Trump’s executive order shrinking the borders of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments designated by the last two Democratic presidents.

Lee, as is traditional with the convention roll call, touted his state’s contributions to the rest of the country. But his shoutout was not itself the traditional boasting of Utah’s great natural beauty or industrious workforce, nor even its fealty to family values.

Lee decided instead to have a little fun with the assignment.

“In the state of Utah, we introduced the world to the Frisbee, to fry sauce and to fake swear words, including fetch, flip and freak.”

Lee is a member of a scaled-down delegation of just six Utah delegates at the Charlotte convention because of the pandemic. Others include Utah GOP Chairman Derek Brown, Senate President Stewart Adams and Salt Lake County Council member Aimee Winder Newton.

Trump made his first appearance at the convention on Monday, trumpeting his accomplishments and warning of the nation’s demise if voters make the mistake of electing Democrats. He also repeated his unsubstantiated claims that the other party is attempting to steal the election.

It was the first of what are expected to be four speeches by the president during the convention.