GOP Sen. Mike Lee Lays Out His Problems With Trump In Testy Interview

Susan Walsh/AP

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) rattled off a laundry list of reasons why he cannot get behind Donald Trump during a testy Wednesday interview on conservative radio show NewsMax.

Asked by host Steve Malzberg why he hasn’t yet endorsed the presumptive GOP nominee, Lee, best friend to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), said he found Trump both personally and politically objectionable.

“We can get into that if you want,” Lee said, in comments first flagged by Buzzfeed News. “We can get into the fact that he accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK. We can go through the fact that he’s made statements that some have identified correctly as religiously intolerant. We can get into the fact that he’s wildly unpopular in my state, in part because my state consists of people who are members of a religious minority church. A people who were ordered exterminated by the governor of Missouri in 1838. And, statements like that make them nervous.”

Lee, who has previously said that the verbose real estate mogul “scares me to death,” allowed that he was open to changing his position as long as Trump tried to assuage his concerns.

“I can go on if you like,” the Utah senator said of his issues with Trump. “But don’t sit here and tell me, Steve, that I have no reason to be concerned over Donald Trump.”

Malzberg countered that his concerns about Hillary Clinton should “dwarf” those about Trump, and that he hoped Lee wasn’t against him for “personal” reasons like his friendship with Cruz.

Lee insisted that there was “no possibility” of him voting for Clinton, but that he wanted assurances that Trump would defend the Constitution.

“I’m sorry, sir, but that is not an unreasonable demand,” Lee said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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