More than 2,100 Republican delegates booed and heckled Sen. Mitt Romney on Saturday at the party’s state convention held at the Maverik Center.
“Aren’t you embarrassed?” Romney said as he attempted to deflect the catcalls that he was met with when he took the stage.
“I’m a man who says what he means, and you know I was not a fan of our last president’s character issues,” said Romney as the delegates did their best to shout him down.
The delegates booed and shouted “traitor” and “communist” at Romney, but he would not be shut down.
The heckling only came to an end after outgoing party chair Derek Brown ordered delegates to “show respect” for Romney.
“You can boo all you like,” said Romney. “I’ve been a Republican all of my life. My dad was the governor of Michigan and I was the Republican nominee for president in 2012.”
Romney was not the only individual that spoke at the event that was met with boos. Gov. Spencer Cox was caught a measure of disapproval.
“I know some of you hate me for some of the decisions I had to make,” Cox stated after taking the stage. “But I want to point out that some of you haven’t been paying attention.”
Cox went on to tout the state’s rapidly improving economy following the COVID-related downturn. He noted that Utah was one of two states to see net job growth during the pandemic. He also pointed out that the state did not go as far as some other states with pandemic restrictions.
“We banned government vaccine passports,” said Cox to cheers, referencing a bill that passed during the 2021 Utah Legislature. The bill blocked the state government from requiring the vaccine, however, private businesses can require the vaccine for employees and customers.
“We’ve also had zero restrictions on religious gatherings since October, and after this school year ends, there won’t be any more masks in schools,” Cox added.
Sen. Mike Lee received a standing ovation as he took the stage. He placed his hand over his heart and thanked the delegates “for taking action! Thank you!” he added before calling their presence “an act of faith in the future.”
Lee blasted Democrats and quoted George Washington. Lee stated that U.S. exceptionalism rested in faith in its citizenry, not the government. “It means freedom,” he said, adding that Democrats hated Republicans and decrying their new proposals under the Biden administration.
“Their whole agenda is wrapped up around one idea,” Lee said, “unquestionable trust in government.”
He attacked the proposal to increase the number of judges on the U.S. Supreme Court as “a bone-headed idea,” adding that he believed that it would “destroy judicial independence.”
“There are some truths we can never betray,” Lee told the delegates. “We are the stewards of our own destiny.”
He went on to state that he did not share President Biden’s view.
“He wants us dependent on government,” Lee said.
He claimed Biden wanted to “extend lockdowns. We want to end them!”
Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson also spoke underscoring a perceived threat from Washington to Utah values. She accused Biden of jeopardizing the state’s energy sector with recent limits on development on public lands. She also claimed that the Democratic-controlled Congress wanted to raise taxes irresponsibly and that it had thrown trillions in pandemic relief funds at the states during the health crisis.
“We all know there’s nothing more expensive than free money,” she said. “We are at a crossroads. There is much at stake.”