A Utah Republican candidate for the Legislature used a slur to describe transgender people on a recent episode of a local conservative podcast.
During the discussion, Harvey and Lee were insulting Gov. Spencer Cox for being a “RINO” or “Republican in name only.”
“The person I have a problem with is Spencer Cox. That is a true RINO,” Harvey said. “He might even be transgender because he’s all for everything they say and do.”
Harvey then noted a recent poll showed Cox was one of the top 10 most popular governors.
“Was that before or after he vetoed a bill for t------s?” Lee interjected, using a slur for transgender people to refer to Gov. Cox’s veto of a bill banning transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports. Lawmakers overrode that veto last month.
Lee, who lists Home Depot as his employer on his financial disclosure form, is a political newcomer who jumped into the race on the final day of candidate filing. After securing the Republican nomination in HD16, he faces no meaningful opposition in the November election. The only other candidate in the race is Libertarian nominee Brent Zimmerman.
The conversation later shifted to critical race theory and whether Black people supported “the gay agenda,” particularly the addition of black and brown stripes to the LGBTQ+ pride flag.
“If I go talk to a lot of my friends who are black, they’d be like, yeah, man, I don’t agree with all that LGBTQ stuff. You see the black and brown now in the LGBTQ flag. I’m like, that’s embarrassing. I wouldn’t want to be associated with those people,” Lee said.
When reached by telephone, Lee refused to answer questions about his comments. He later responded to a message sent to his Facebook page saying he was not interested in speaking and called The Salt Lake Tribune “fake news.”
Harvey did not respond to requests for comment.
Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, called the comments from Lee and Harvey part of a worrisome trend among Republicans.
“Trumpism continues to corrupt the GOP in Utah with its trademark crassness and cruelty. Utah Republicans must find the moral courage to reject these political extremists before they further damage the party, harm Utah children and embarrass our state.”
Near the end of the conversation, Lee also said “crazy white liberals who do not have another purpose in life” needed to stop pushing a radical agenda and find something else to do, like “start families and make babies.” He then suggested that the group would be among those sacrificed if some cataclysmic event happened.
“If the crap hits the fan, they’re going to be the first ones to get thrown to the wayside. They’re the ones who, if they really need to get something done, they need to eliminate people. They’ll be two-thirds of the first ones to go,” Lee said.