PARK CITY, Utah — On Friday, former President Donald Trump announced his endorsement of incumbent Sen. Mike Lee’s reelection campaign.
In a statement, Trump said Lee “has done an outstanding job for the wonderful state of Utah.”
Adding that he is “by far the superior Senator” and that the race is “not even a contest!”
Ally Isom, Becky Edwards, and Sen. Lee have each submitted the required 28,000 signatures for a spot on the Republican primary ballot slated for June.
Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative who ran as a third-party candidate for president in 2016 (he won 21.54% of the vote in Utah), is also running independently for the post.
In 2016, Lee voted for McMullin instead of Trump. While the senator has since hopped on the Trump bandwagon, that was not the case in 2016. Lee endorsed Ted Cruz in the 2016 GOP primary, and at one point tried to get Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to create a unity ticket. He also contributed to a last-ditch effort at the 2016 Republican National Convention to stop Trump from becoming the party’s nominee.
In an example of how the times have changed, during the 2020 presidential race, Lee compared Trump to Book of Mormon hero Captain Moroni during a campaign rally.
In his statement, Trump said that Evan “McMuffin” McMullin “does not represent the standards and policies of the great people of Utah.”
The statement continued: “All you have to do is read the ads about McMuffin in the last campaign to know what he stands for. He is laughed at by all, and would be a disaster for the State — and you can’t have two such Senators like that at one time,” a clear reference to Trump’s disdain for Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.
In a response on Twitter, McMullin wrote:
Senator Mike Lee — once a constitutional conservative — now has the endorsement of a wicked man who tried to dismantle our republic and stay in power against the people’s will. Lee sacrificed his honor and values to serve him at the expense of Utah and our nation. I will not.