‘The Rundown’: Mike Lee rails against Pelosi’s mask mandate on Senate floor

Your Friday morning Utah political cheat sheet

"The Rundown" logo

Good morning Utah and TGIF! Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.

📬 Emal me maybe? Got a news tip? Some interesting political gossip? Just want to chat about politics? Send me an email or find me on Twitter @SchottHappens.

Get this newsletter delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. Sign up for free here.

Mike Lee takes mask protest to the Senate floor

On Thursday, Sen. Mike Lee, during a speech on the Senate floor, made a big to-do about the new requirement that members of the U.S. House must wear masks while on the floor. Lee objected to the mandate put in place by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Penalties for not complying include removal from the chamber, fines, and possible arrest.

“The arrest of peaceful House staffers shows the total loss of political grace in the House of Representatives. I cannot fathom a legitimate reason to arrest a person in this building for not wearing a mask,” Lee said.

Lee went on for more than 17 minutes, railing against Pelosi, masks, and the CDC’s new guidance on mask-wearing. You can watch the speech here.

Then, in one of the more cringe-worthy moments, Lee danced recklessly close to making a holocaust comparison.

“Obviously, we don’t ever want to get to the point where somebody has to wear an armband to prove whether they’ve been vaccinated or not. In fact, that would be a horrifying experiment we should not attempt,” Lee said, quickly catching himself.

During Lee’s speech, several House GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Loren Boebert marched from the House to the Senate without wearing masks as a protest to the new mandate,

Earlier this week, Lee urged Utahns to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Here’s what you need to know for Friday morning

😷 Utah reported 1,113 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily count since February. [Tribune]

🦠 An internal CDC document says the Delta variant spreads as easily as chickenpox and appears to cause more severe illness than previous variants. [WaPo]

💉 President Joe Biden said he would favor a financial incentive for unvaccinated people to get the jab. He called on states and territories to offer $100 to those who get vaccinated. [ABC News]

💉 Biden issued a directive requiring about 2 million federal employees and contractors to either get vaccinated or wear a mask at work and submit to regular testing. [Politico]

🏛 Gov. Spencer Cox floats paying homeowners to tear out grass and install xeriscaping, but there may not be much appetite for that move among Utah lawmakers. [Tribune]

🏠 The median home price in Salt Lake County is now $550,000. Some homebuyers are paying $150,000 above list price. [Tribune]

🤝 Here’s how President Biden was able to reach the bipartisan deal on infrastructure funding that former President Donald Trump could not. [NYT]

🏡 The moratorium on evictions in the U.S. ends Saturday. President Biden is calling on Democrats in Congress to extend the moratorium ASAP. [Quartz]

📈 The U.S economy is returning to pre-pandemic levels. Gross domestic product grew 1.6%, which is where it was last year. [NYT]

📈 Consumer spending increased 11.8% annually, which is the second-largest increase since 1952. [Bloomberg]

📺 My Pillow pulled ads from Fox News after the network refused to run a commercial promoting founder Mike Lindell’s quest to push false claims of election fraud. [WSJ]

💰Amazon.com reported second-quarter sales of $113.1 billion, which was just below the $115.4 billion forecasters expected. [WSJ]

Former Michigan Senator Carl Levin died Thursday. He was 87. [WaPo]

Ron Popeil, inventor of such products as the “pocket fisherman,” died at 86. He was immortalized in song by “Weird” Al Yankovic in 1984 [NYT]

Friday’s Utah news roundup


  • Trevor Milton, electric vehicle startup founder and Utahn, charged with securities fraud. [Tribune]

  • Patriots or paramilitary? Armed groups working with police raising questions. [Deseret News]

  • Utahns paid thousands to design water conserving landscaping. [KUTV]

  • Why Utah joined a Mississippi abortion case to overturn Roe v. Wade. [Deseret News]

  • ‘Deeply worried’ about nation’s polarization, Gov. Cox says Utah has the ‘secret sauce’. [Deseret News]

  • Did you get your ballot? Voting open in Utah cities for Aug. 10 primary for mayoral and council races. [Deseret News]


  • Does being pro-life mean getting COVID-19 vaccine? Utah Sen. Mitt Romney thinks so. [Deseret News]

Salt Lake City

  • 536 student dorms are planned to replace a Latter-day Saint chapel at the University of Utah. [Tribune]

  • Sing goodbye to The Tavernacle: It’s closing time for Salt Lake City’s iconic piano bar. [Tribune]


  • Cedar City braces for more rain as it recovers from flash floods. [Tribune]

  • Moab’s Main Street floods briefly in summer monsoon. [Tribune]

  • Why were drought designations dialed back slightly in southern Utah? [Fox 13]


  • Fred Ash: Drive to attract new business to Utah has (un)intended consequences. [Tribune]

  • Caleb Warnock: Diabetes care in the U.S. is profitably broken.

  • Elizabeth Joy and Kim Frost: Less water leaves us with more air pollution. [Tribune]

  • Meisei Gonzalez: Utah deserves air quality solutions free of loopholes. [Tribune]

  • Tom Butine: Time to face the facts about the Colorado River. [Tribune]

  • David P. Carter: UDOT’s Little Cottonwood Canyon alternatives are taxpayer-funded ski resort subsidies. [Tribune]

  • Tammie Bostick: Time to be innovative in order to preserve our canyon. [Tribune]

  • Here are reasons why Utah should host another Olympics. [Deseret News]

🎂 You say it’s your birthday?!!

Happy birthday on Friday to former Republican congressional candidate Morgan Philpot and Heather Barney, former communications director for former U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch.

Former Utah GOP chairman and Deseret News editor Joseph Cannon celebrates his birthday on Saturday.

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

— The Tribune’s Jordan Miller contributed to this report.