'His reelection is teetering': Mike Lee suffers the consequences of his 'Trump brownnosing'
When Sen. Mike Lee of Utah made a Tuesday, October 11 appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” he wasn’t shy about doing some begging and pleading — and the ironic part is that Lee was reaching out to another Republican senator from Utah: Mitt Romney, who Carlson’s audience and the MAGA crowd detest for his willingness to stand up to former President Donald Trump and vote “guilty” in both of Trump’s impeachment trials. Lee is facing an aggressive challenge from Never Trump conservative Evan McMullin, and he begged Romney to help him out. But Romney hasn’t endorsed either Lee or McMullin in the race, essentially remaining neutral by saying that he considers both of them “friends.”
Trump’s influence on Lee is the focus of two articles in the conservative website Bulwark: one written by A.B. Stoddard (best known for her work for RealClearPolitics) and published on October 18, the other an interview with McMullin conducted by Never Trump conservative Mona Charen and published on October 17.
Stoddard explains, “Beseeching Mitt Romney for help — on Tucker Carlson’s show, of all places — would have been unthinkable to Sen. Mike Lee even recently. Yet there he was last week, demeaning himself before Fox viewers who loathe Romney, begging not only for Romney’s endorsement, but adding, ‘You can get your entire family to donate to me.’ Over the last six years, Donald Trump has ruined many Republican political careers; Lee is now scrambling to avoid becoming another of them. The two-term senator knows exactly why his campaign is in trouble and what led to his humiliation on Fox News.”
Utah’s 2022 U.S. Senate race has become, in essence, a battle between two conservatives: one pro-MAGA and running as a Republican, the other anti-MAGA and running as an independent.
Stoddard notes that Lee’s “reelection is teetering because of Republican voters who are disgusted by his full embrace of Trump, including his attempts to help Trump overturn the 2020 election.”
“Lee is still the favorite to win,” Stoddard observes. “He’s the incumbent and a Republican running in a deep red state against an independent who’s never won a statewide election. He should be running away with this thing. But the latest Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics polls — the gold standard in Utah — found McMullin in a tight race with Lee, who was up five points and three points among likely voters in their last two polls. A Hill Research poll has McMullin ahead of Lee, 46 percent to 42 percent among active voters — when a comparable survey by the same firm had McMullin trailing Lee by 13 points in June. Meanwhile, respondents’ unfavorable view of Lee has grown, from 44 percent in June to 52 percent now.”
Stoddard points out that although Lee “voted for Evan McMullin for president” in 2016, he went on to become “as solidly pro-Trump as Marjorie Taylor Greene.” According to Stoddard, the “combination of” Lee’s “Trump brown-nosing” and “his disconnect from his constituents” have “made him vulnerable.”
READ MORE: Mike Lee claims Democrats 'hate democracy' after text messages bust him for plot to overturn election
Charen, during her interview with McMullin, points out that Lee went from voting for McMullin in 2016 to running against him in 2022.
“On Election Day (2016), he voted for me and publicly said so,” McMullin told Charen. “But I think he realized that his own personal pursuit of power, he thought, was better served by ending his opposition to the extremism that was rising as a part of Trump’s demagoguery, and got on board. And a lot of Utahns, I think, in this state have cast a vote for Trump in 2016 or 2020. But they never liked him. And they held their noses to do it because they didn’t want to support a Democrat.”
McMullin continued, “But what Lee did that offended many of them was that he went from simply supporting Trump to becoming a real sycophant for him, to the point that in October of 2020, Lee was campaigning with Trump on a stage in Mesa, Arizona, to an audience of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — the Mormons — and while he was on stage with Trump, he compared Trump at length to a revered Book of Mormon hero, known as Captain Moroni. And it was something that offended many members of the church deeply here in Utah, but I think everywhere, and it really, I think, underscored just how far Lee had gone in becoming a sycophant in the pursuit of power."
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