U.S. Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, said on Tuesday that he would not have voted to censure Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and urged Utah Republicans to unite and look past their differences.
The 3rd District congressman’s comments came during a town hall held at the Nebo School District administrative office in Spanish Fork.
The town hall took place days after the Utah Republican Party’s organizing convention, during which Republican delegates considered a resolution to censure Romney over his votes to impeach President Donald Trump.
About halfway through the one-hour town hall, one woman asked Curtis which way he voted on the resolution to censure Romney.
Curtis, who did not attend Saturday’s convention, told her he wasn’t there but added that he would not have supported the measure.
“Why?” multiple people in the audience shot back. “He doesn’t represent our values,” the woman who asked the question said.
“Republicans have to make a choice,” Curtis responded. “We have a choice: We can fight each other or we can go out and win the House back and win the presidency back in four years. We have to choose. And if we want to spend the whole time fighting Republicans, we can do that. And guess what? The Democrats will continue to take the House, the Senate and the presidency. So we have a decision to make.”
Curtis added that he doesn’t think “there’s any doubt in Mitt Romney’s mind how the delegates feel about his vote. I don’t think he needed a censure to know how they felt.”
He also noted that the convention and the measure to censure Romney were “talked about in all parts of this country and even parts of this world.”
“And is that how we want to be seen?,” he asked. “Or do we want to be united, do we want to focus on individual rights, on freedom, on limited government?”
One man replied, “We can’t unite (with) somebody we can’t get behind.”
“That’s fine. You don’t have to vote for him,” said Curtis.
Much of the evening focused around “critical race theory,” which multiple attendees claimed is being taught to children in public schools. Elizabeth Sexton, of Spanish Fork, asked the congressman what he is doing to address critical race theory being taught in schools and warned that kids are being indoctrinated with “radical identity politics.”
Curtis said there was nothing he could do about critical race theory being taught in schools because it hasn’t come to a vote in Congress. He added that those concerned about the issue should reach out to state lawmakers and local school board members.
On the subject of COVID-19, Spanish Fork resident Brad Huff asked Curtis whether he supported vaccine passports, which have been implemented in Israel as a way to verify coronavirus immunization status.
“Because if we lose that right, as far as I’m concerned, we are no better than the Jews were under the Nazis,” said Huff.
Curtis said that he thought vaccine passports were a “bad idea” and wouldn’t support their implementation.
Other topics discussed during Tuesday’s town hall included climate change, foreign relations with China and unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud during the 2020 election.