The day Ted Cruz, Glenn Beck came to Provo

GOP presidential hopeful, Sen. Ted Cruz, speaks to a crowd of thousands during a Provo, Utah campaign rally Saturday, March 19, 2016. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

PROVO, Utah, Jan. 6, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Any time a candidate for the U.S. presidency embarks on a good old-fashioned barnstorming campaign tour, especially in the company of a red-hot talk show host, it usually generates a buzz, especially in cities and towns that aren’t accustomed to that sort of folderol.

Such was the case just four short years ago when, in the home stretch of Utah’s 2016 GOP primary, candidate Ted Cruz was joined by conservative commentator Glenn Beck, vice-presidential prospect Carly Fiorina, then-Lt. Gov. Gary Cox, and Sen. Mike Lee, in a jammed-packed gym in Provo to enthusiastically support the firebrand, straight-shootin’ senator from Texas.

It was a loud and colorful campaign event, packed to the rafters with Cruz supporters, who delighted in the soaring rhetoric, especially the repeated character attacks on rival candidate Donald Trump. The future president had actually stolen a bit of the Cruz campaign’s thunder the night before, having scheduled a hastily convened campaign rally in downtown Salt Lake City. It was Trump’s one and only Utah visit in the GOP primary season.

In a review of the article Gephardt Daily published on that day in 2016, we were struck by the words uttered by Cruz and company, and just how fickle and fleeting those viewpoints have apparently become. In retrospect it seems that words matter. And then they don’t.

Our story from March 19, 2016, is below:

PROVO, Utah, March 19, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Sen. Mike Lee on Saturday officially launched his re-election campaign with two public rallies, but the real headliner at his events was the man he calls his best friend in the Senate.

That would be Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican candidate for the United States presidency.

“There’s a reason we need food testers in the members’ dining room,” Cruz joked at his Provo rally, referencing the sometimes unpopular conservative stances he and Lee take on as a duo.

“We’re here today because our country’s in crisis,” Cruz said. “We’re bankrupting our kids and grandkids, because our constitutional rights are under assault each and every day, because America has receded in leadership around the world.

“And yet I’m here with a word of hope and encouragement and exhortation. All across America, there’s a spirit of awakening that is sweeping across the land,” Cruz said. “The next election will focus on three critical issues: jobs, freedom and security.”

Sen. Ted Cruz greeting supporters at a Provo, Utah campaign stop, Saturday, March 19, 2016. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

Cruz began his day with a 10 a.m. rally at the American Preparatory Academy, in Draper, where he helped officially kick off the campaign of Utah Sen. Mike Lee.

Two hours later, he was at Provo High, where he was joined by former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and conservative talk show host Glenn Beck.

Former GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina speaks on behalf Sen Ted Cruz during a campaign rally in Provo, Utah Saturday, March 19, 2016. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

Fiorina wasted little time in taking aim at Cruz’s principle opponents, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, and the increasingly likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two sides of the same coin, Fiorina said.

“Clinton has made her millions by selling access and influence from inside the political system, and Donald Trump has made his billions by buying people like Hillary Clinton off. They are the system, folks.”

The standing-room-only crowd cheered, with shouts of “Carly for VP!”

Former GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina speaks on behalf of Sen Ted Cruz during a campaign rally in Provo, Utah Saturday, March 19, 2016. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

Fiorina’s comments were echoed by Glenn Beck, who railed against Trump and Clinton for the spectacle of the 2016 campaign.

“I’m not here for personalities,” Beck said. “You’re not here for personalities. We are here for the Constitution of the United States of America, and it’s high time that it’s restored.”

Beck then spoke about his conversion to the LDS faith and the moral responsibility he believes Mormons share in preserving America’s Judeo- Christian values.

“Let the priesthood lead,” Beck shouted. “Priesthood leaders, stand up and take your staff! You are the guardian at the gate!”

Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck at a Provo, Utah campaign stop Saturday, March 19, 2016, encouraging followers of the LDS faith to defend the U.S. Constitution by voting for Sen. Ted Cruz. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

The crowd rose, roaring its approval.

Joining Beck on stage was Utah Sen. Mike Lee.

Lee spoke of his deep respect for his Senate colleague and their mutual love of the U.S. Constitution. He also joked it was “weird” having his best friend at work run for president.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee campaigns for GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz during a Provo, Utah campaign stop. Photo: Gephardt Daily

Cruz was quick to return Lee’s praise, saying that as a defender of the Constitution, Lee would make a “good choice” for Supreme Court justice.

The crowd cheered in approval yet again.

“Let me be very clear to the men and women of Utah, Cruz said.

“I will not compromise away your religious liberty. And I will not compromise away your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. And you have my solemn commitment that every justice I put on the court will be a principled constitutionalist who will be faithful to the law and will ferociously protect the Bill of Rights for every one of us.”

Sen. Ted Cruz greeting supporters at a Provo, Utah campaign stop Saturday, March 19, 2016. Photo: Gephardt Daily

With Utah’s caucuses scheduled for Tuesday, March 22nd, the state is seeing a flurry of campaign activity. Four presidential candidates visited the state on two consecutive days, and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is scheduled to return Monday to visit Salt Lake City’s West High School.

To see videos of their campaign events, talks or read Gephardt Daily articles about the appearances, click on the headliners’ names: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or John Kasich.

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