Herbert, Trump and Putin? the debate over a strange mailer

SALT LAKE CITY -- Quick fact check: Gov. Gary Herbert is not a member of the fan club for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With that in mind, why is there a big picture of the Kremlin next to Herbert on a mailer sent out by the Utah Democratic Party?

It’s a question of guilt by association. Herbert is voting for Donald Trump in the presidential election, and Trump has said nice things about Putin.

The Democratic Party mailer, which supports Herbert’s Democratic challenger, Mike Weinholtz, points out Putin’s hostility to religious freedom and the decline of the missionary program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Russia.

Herbert thinks the connection is a reach.

“To try to tie me to Trump is one thing. To try to tie me to Putin and the Mormon missionary program? I was a Mormon missionary,” the governor said, calling Weinholtz desperate.

Weinholtz said Trump is campaigning on unAmerican ideas including the support of Putin, widely seen as a dictator who uses violence and murder to hold on to power.

Weinholtz added Herbert buckled to party pressure to support Trump.

“To me if you are endorsing Donald Trump you are complicit with his bigotry and his misogyny and his other crazy ideas,” he said.