Where Things Stand: Mike Lee Runs Away From Event To Avoid Addressing Those Texts

This is your TPM evening briefing.
on July 18, 2017 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) walks past reporters inside the US Capitol on July 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sen. Lee said he would vote no Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's bid to overhaul t... WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) walks past reporters inside the US Capitol on July 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sen. Lee said he would vote no Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's bid to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) exited an event in Utah on Tuesday so quickly that even his staffer was out of breath.

During a local county Republican Party convention back home in Utah yesterday, a Salt Lake Tribune reporter approached the senator to attempt to ask a few questions about those damning text messages published by CNN just last week. Lee’s office issued an incredibly weak statement after the report was published on Lee’s communication with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. The statement looks like a mad lib pulled from some sort of Say Something to Say Nothing how-to guide:

“The text messages tell the same story Sen. Lee told from the floor of the Senate the day he voted to certify the election results of each and every state in the nation,” Lee’s communication director said last week. “They tell the story of a U.S. Senator fulfilling his duty to Utah and the American people by following the Constitution.”

But, as one analysis after another is published this week, outlining the split screen of what Lee was saying in public vs. behind-the-scenes, Lee still hasn’t addressed the issue. And is physically hastening away from reporters in order to do so.

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When the Salt Lake Tribune approached Lee at the Summit County Republican Party Convention in Kamas, Utah yesterday, Lee looked at the reporter, smiled and then pivoted to shake hands with an elderly couple in front of him. Lee’s staff appeared to then physically block the reporter from Lee while the senator worked his way out the door and into a vehicle. It’s one of those kinda pathetic political scenes where a comms staffer is trying to act as a body guard — when there’s clearly no threat beyond some unanswered questions in the air.

But perhaps Lee’s team was being dramatic because the questions aren’t small potatoes. The text messages published by CNN last week reveal a rather concerning disconnect between Lee’s public and private stances on the 2020 election and the insurrection as a whole. Lee ultimately voted to certify President Biden’s electoral college win, giving an at-the-time reasonable sounding speech from the Senate floor that suggested he believed there was no room for Congress to challenge the results of the election.

“Our job is to open and then count — open, then count,” Lee (R-Utah) said on Jan. 6. “That’s it.”

But as we now know, Lee’s private monologue was much different — up until at least Jan. 3, Lee was actively texting Meadows, pushing and supporting various aspects of the now-infamous fake electors scheme.

“Everything changes, of course, if the swing states submit competing slates of electors pursuant to state law,” Lee texted, just three days before he publicly pretended he supported Biden’s win. “Again, all of this could change if the states in question certified Trump electors pursuant to state law.”

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Pre-Jan 6 Oath Keeper Texts Show Terror At The Idea Of A Massive Antifa Army In DC

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