Utah GOP, Democrats feud in ‘Melania move’ statements

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SALT LAKE CITY — In dueling statements, Utah’s dominant political parties sparred over Governor Gary Herbert’s confirmation that he would vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The Utah Democratic Party and Utah Republican Party traded jabs Thursday in separate news releases put out to the capitol press corps, each apparently trying to “trump” the other.

At his monthly news conference taped at public television station KUED’s studios, Governor Gary Herbert was asked by FOX 13 if he was voting for Trump. He answered yes. The Utah Democratic Party then put out a statement “denouncing” the Republican governor voting for the Republican presidential candidate.

Governor Gary Herbert at his monthly KUED news conference on August 11, 2016. (Courtesy KUED)

Governor Gary Herbert at his monthly KUED news conference on August 11, 2016. (Courtesy KUED)

“Unbelievable. Shameful. Appalling. Those are just some of the words that came to mind when I heard Gary Herbert confirm his plan to vote for Donald Trump in November. Governor Herbert has shown once again that he prioritizes politics and his own party over what is best for the people of Utah,” party chairman Peter Corroon wrote.

Utah GOP chairman James Evans responded by issuing the same statement, but swapping out Herbert’s name for Democratic gubenatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz and Donald Trump for Hillary Clinton.

“Unbelievable. Shameful. Appalling. Those are just some of the words that came to mind when I heard Democratic candidate for Governor Mike Weinholtz was planning to vote for Hillary Clinton in November,” Evans wrote. “Mike has shown once again that he prioritizes politics and his own party over what is best for the people of Utah.”

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the statements:

statements

Later in the evening, the Utah Democrats fired back at the GOP’s mocking of their statement, calling it a “Melania move.” The Democrats referenced accusations that Melania Trump plagiarized part of her GOP convention speech from one given years earlier by Michelle Obama.

“It is shocking that Chairman Evans would resort to plagiarizing Utah Democratic Party Chair Peter Corroon’s statement to make light of the seriousness of the 2016 presidential election,” Democratic Party Communications Director Yándary Zavala wrote. “Perhaps he simply meant to poke a little fun, but this ‘Melania move’ by James Evans highlights just how out of touch the Utah GOP – and its Chairman – is with the political climate in Utah and with what is best for Utahns and their families.”