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‘The Rundown’: Utah’s extreme right-wing fantasizes about removing Spencer Cox from office

Your Wednesday morning Utah political cheat sheet

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Utah’s far-right fever dream about getting rid of Spencer Cox

A petition is circulating on some of the fringier far-right Facebook pages in Utah seeking to remove Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson. Unfortunately, the petition is the sanest part.

The petition is overflowing with legal gobbledegook and things that sound smart if you don’t think about them for more than two seconds. It accuses Cox and Henderson of treason and sedition for the “Utah leads together” and “Stay home, stay safe” plans implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both of those programs were put in place by former Gov. Gary Herbert, but who really cares about details when you’re this far down the rabbit hole?

The petition accuses Cox and Henderson of breaking a whopping 53 federal laws and committing 20 violations of the Constitution for having the temerity to try and save lives during the pandemic, even though their predecessor implemented those programs.

The pseudo-legal document concludes, “May the will of our Heavenly Father, through the power and authority of His Son be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Here’s where it gets really weird.

In the comments section below the post, there is a very serious, and not at all completely insane, discussion about whether Gov. Cox had been arrested, along with 31 other governors, during a meeting with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Pentagon last week.

Why had Cox been arrested, you may ask? For his dealings with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), of course. Why else would that happen? How do they know? Someone heard it on YouTube!

A spokesperson for Gov. Spencer Cox confirmed that he did not visit The Pentagon last week, nor was he arrested for connections to the CCP.

But, then again, that could be exactly what the Deep State wants us to think…


Here’s what you need to know for Wednesday morning

Local news

  • A new book says Sen. Mitt Romney felt “a pit in his stomach” on election night last year as the early returns showed former President Donald Trump doing well in his re-election bid. Romney told his family he thought Trump would win. [Insider]

  • The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, will hold its annual meeting in Salt Lake City later this month. Critics say the group, made up of mostly Republican lawmakers and representatives of private corporations, push “fill-in-the-blank” bills that mostly benefit special interests. [Tribune]

  • Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson says she opposes a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon to help alleviate snarled traffic. She favors expanding bus service and road improvements. [Tribune]

  • Sen. Mitt Romney says it’s “moronic” for conservatives to turn the COVID-19 vaccines into a political issue. [Tribune]

  • Lego is demanding a Utah gunmaker cease production of a firearm that looks like it’s made of Lego blocks. The company says the gun was made to show that shooting things can be “SUPER FUN!” The gun was removed from the company’s website. [WaPo]

  • Sen. Mike Lee praised the selection of former Sen. Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey. [Tribune]

  • Utah hospitals are starting to fill up with COVID-19 patients again. 95% of those hospitalizations are among unvaccinated people. [Tribune]

  • The Utah Department of Transportation held an open house on Tuesday to hear public input on transportation options in Little Cottonwood Canyon. [Tribune]

National news

  • Senate Democrats agreed to a $3.5 trillion budget package which includes spending for President Joe Biden’s social agenda and combatting climate change. The deal is separate from a bipartisan infrastructure package. [WaPo]

  • Inflation may be here to stay. Consumer prices jumped 0.9% last month, which is the largest increase in 13 years. But, the price increases are hitting different sectors of the economy unequally. [WSJ]

  • Last month, the federal budget deficit was $174 billion, down from a record $864 billion a year ago. That’s a drop of approximately 80%. [MarketWatch]

  • COVID-19 cases are on the rise again across the U.S. The number of new cases per day has doubled over the past three weeks. [AP]

  • President Joe Biden called out Republican efforts to suppress votes and undermine confidence in elections. “Have you no shame?” he asked during a speech in Philadelphia. [Politico]

  • Here’s the incredible account of how Texas Democrats fled the state to stymie Republican efforts to pass new laws restricting voting access. [WaPo]

  • The website for Russia’s most aggressive ransomware group suddenly disappeared this week. It’s not clear who was behind disabling them. [NYT]

  • A federal appeals court ruled federal regulations setting a minimum age of 21 to buy a handgun violated the Second Amendment. [CNN]

  • A new book says former President Trump was furious about a story saying he hid in the White House bunker as racial justice protests broke out in Washington, D.C. Trump reportedly said whoever leaked the information “should be charged with treason” and “executed.” [CNN]

  • The Trump Justice Department’s effort to learn the source for stories written in 2017 began shortly before former Attorney General William Barr’s resignation. The department sought court orders to obtain the communication records of three reporters in the investigation. [WaPo]

  • Deadly rioting broke out in South Africa after ex-president Jacob Zuma was jailed for contempt of court. At least 72 people have been killed, and more than 1,200 have been arrested. [CBS News]


Wednesday morning’s Utah news roundup

Utah

  • After struggles with retention and rising crime, Salt Lake City police sees more applicants after promised raises. [Tribune]

  • Trump-era policies entice Australian company to consider opening uranium mines in Utah. [Tribune]

  • Is police use of facial recognition technology an invasion of privacy? [DNews]

  • Utah housing forecast: Market will remain hot, but price increases could slow by 2023. [KUTV]

  • McWhinney starts the clock on revitalizing 300 West block of downtown Provo. [Daily Herald]

COVID-19

  • Latter-day Saint mission president dies after battling COVID-19 for weeks. [Tribune]

  • Utah pharmacist disciplined for fraudulently filling out COVID-19 vaccine cards. [KUTV]

  • COVID outbreaks in summer camps happening every week, Utah County health officials say. [ABC4]

  • As COVID-19 cases persist, Weber and Davis counties put focus on vaccinating. [Standard Examiner]

Washington

  • Utah’s John Curtis calls for more telehealth in rural communities. [Daily Herald]

Transit

  • UDOT holds open house to gather public comments on Little Cottonwood Canyon travel alternatives. [Tribune]

  • Eagle Mountain seeks public comment on updated Transportation Master Plan. [Daily Herald]

Business

  • Leaders push new ‘innovation’ network to grow Utah’s economy. Here’s what it will do. [Tribune]

  • Salt Lake City business owner sues the DABC after it took away her bar license. [Tribune]

  • Supporters of Redwood Drive-In’s diverse swap meet turn back a developer — for now. [Tribune]

  • Path cleared for vote on major Kimball Junction project at Tech Center site. [Park Record]

  • Weber County rep aiding with Utah economic development strategy on new commission. [Standard Examiner]

Environment

  • The outdoors is Utah tech firms No. 1 recruiting tool. [Tribune]

  • U.S. drilling approvals increase despite Biden climate pledge. [Tribune]

  • Here’s how to stay safe when Utah’s air gets smoky. [Tribune]

  • Salt Lake City mosquito officials propose new 75% abatement tax hike. [ABC4]

  • Park City readies for a potentially highly charged contaminated soils hearing. [Park Record]

On the Opinion Pages

  • Suzanne Harrison: Public lands pay dividends, and false narratives hurt Utahns the most. [Tribune]

  • Robert Gehrke: Renters are losing out to Airbnb, and Utah won’t let cities help them. [Tribune]

  • Mike Lee: Critical race theory attacks what it means to be an American. [DNews]


🎂 You say it’s your birthday?!!

Happy birthday to Sen. Keith Grover, R-Provo.

Got a birthday you’d like us to recognize in this space? Send us an email.

— Connor Sanders contributed to this story.

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