‘The Rundown’: Romney warns Republicans on Cheney ouster

Your Tuesday morning Utah political cheat sheet

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Good Tuesday morning, Utah! Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.

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Happening today

Gov. Spencer Cox is one of six governors who will chat with President Joe Biden today about getting more Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus. Utah is in the bottom half of states for vaccination rates.

The meeting is part of the White House’s goal of getting at least 70% of adults in America at least partially vaccinated by July 4.

Romney’s warning to Republicans

Congressional Republicans are poised to run Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney out of leadership for not curbing her criticism of former President Donald Trump continuing to push the lie that the 2020 election was fraudulent.

Sen. Mitt Romney had a stark warning for his colleagues, cautioning them that the move will appease Trump but won’t help the party politically.

Romney was booed at the Utah GOP convention and censured by two county Republican parties for twice voting to remove Trump from office in his impeachment trials.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is teeing up a vote on Cheney’s leadership position for Wednesday.

John Oliver rips Utah lawmaker during segment on Black hairstyles

Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took on the issue of hair discrimination, and Utah Sen. Derren Owens, R-Fountain Green, made a cameo appearance for a cringe-worthy moment during the 2021 Utah Legislature.

During a committee debate on a bill to ban employment discrimination because of hairstyles like braids, locks, or Afros, Owens told several Black women, “You people are beautiful.” He then attempted to show other members of the committee a recent photo he had taken of two Black children.

“I don’t normally take pictures of children, but they were adorable two Black children,” said Owens at the time. “They’re just the cutest kids in the world. One has cornrows, and the other has dreadlocks. I wish you could see that.”

You can read the original reporting about the incident from The Tribune’s Bethany Rodgers here.

Oliver did not hold back while criticizing Owens’ behavior.

“What are you doing, you exceptionally weird man?!” exclaimed Oliver.

“Just to recap, he started off by telling a group of Black women, ‘You people are beautiful,’ then proceeded to say, ‘I don’t normally take pictures of children, but…’, a perfectly acceptable sentence until the ‘but’ part, then launches into a story about how he keeps photos of strangers children on his phone,” mocked Oliver.

“All of this which evokes a response perhaps best summed up by this expression,” continued Oliver while zooming in on the face of one of the women participating in the hearing via zoom, “which is an absolute masterclass in how to say ‘the f***!’ using only your eyebrows.”

Owens ultimately voted against the bill, rationalizing, “It almost looks like we’re trying to do something that doesn’t exist.”

Oliver shot back, “It’s not something that exists...for white men who have never had to think about it before.”

The segment with Owens starts at the 18:10 mark in this YouTube video.

Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday morning

  • Good news! The FDA greenlit the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents between 12 and 15 [NBC News].

  • Children in Utah could begin receiving the COVID vaccine by the end of the week [Tribune].

  • Republicans on the Salt Lake County Council call on Mayor Jenny Wilson to end the mask mandate at county facilities. One member is investigating how to override the mayor if she refuses the request [Tribune].

  • More than 70,000 Utahns have missed their second dose of the COVID vaccine. Experts worry that could harm efforts to slow down the transmission rate [Tribune].

  • The U.S. Treasury will start sending $350 billion in aid to state and local governments. About $2.5 billion is headed to Utah [AP].

  • The Utah Legislature’s reversal on bail reform this year has some prosecutors worrying the criminal justice system will be thrown into disarray as they try to navigate the rapidly changing rules [Tribune].

  • Eight Republicans are lining up to be the next Utah treasurer. The field includes state Rep. Phil Lyman and former state Sen. Brian Zehnder [Tribune].

  • The newly-hired police chief in Mantua was fired by the West Jordan police department last year after receiving multiple written warnings from superiors [Tribune].

  • Senate Republicans are pushing for a deal on infrastructure with Democrats and President Joe Biden [WaPo].

  • The FBI says an Eastern European criminal gang is behind the hack that shut down a massive pipeline that delivered gasoline to the East Coast of the U.S. [NYT].

  • China’s population growth falls dramatically to near zero as fewer couples have children. The population crisis is straining a society already having difficulty with a shrinking workforce [AP].

  • A bipartisan group of 44 attorneys general wrote a letter to Facebook urging them to drop plans for a version of Instagram for children under 13 [AP].

Tuesday’s Utah news roundup


  • Four in 10 Utahns have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine [Tribune].

  • State health officials say no link between blood clots and coronavirus vaccine authorized for teenagers [Tribune].

  • Hesitancy about vaccines may keep Utah from reaching herd immunity [Deseret News].


  • Divvy, a Utah financial tech firm, is acquired by Bill.com for $2.5 billion [Tribune].

  • Pandemic court delays cause concern over confusion, potential rights violations [KUTV].


  • Utah real estate frenzy leads to record workload for county recorders [KUTV].

  • Is the tourism industry recovering? Yes and no [Deseret News].

  • Utah Latinx businesses grow during pandemic [Fox 13].

  • Utah economist says enhanced benefits are just one part of a complex jobs picture [Fox 13].


  • Hideout’s first master developer sues the town and its planner for $100M [Park Record].

Local government

  • Vineyard approves bar license for first restaurant to serve alcohol [Daily Herald].

  • Citing disruptions, safety issues, Alpine moves district meeting to virtual event [Daily Herald].

On the opinion pages

Ron Molen: A well-funded cartel is behind America’s gun deaths [Tribune].

Here’s how Republican Utah can lead out on clean energy and bring change [Deseret News].

Utah’s redistricting needs to keep representation front of mind [Deseret News].

You say it’s your birthday?!

Happy birthday to Democratic state Rep. Sandra Hollins.

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