Salt Lake County GOP Chairman Scott Miller has resigned his post after brushing off complaints from women in his party regarding Salt Lake County Republican Party communications director Dave Robinson’s pattern of harassment, body-shaming and more.
Miller, who was running for the state Republican chair, had trivialized the allegations as petty squabbling. It was pretty obviously more than that. For example, after Salt Lake County Council candidate Laurie Stringham created a campaign video for donors in which she said, “Support Laurie Stringham for Salt Lake County Council, so when Mayor [Jenny] Wilson says ‘more, more, more,’ we can say ‘no, no, no!’,” she said that Robinson called her to complain about the spot.
“You sound like you’re having an orgasm!” Robinson shouted at her over her car’s speakerphone. He then repeated her “more, more, more” catchphrase with obscene grunting sounds., and told her that if she wanted to “whore herself out, that was her choice.” Then, Stringham said, Robinson shouted, “I will make sure you never get elected! I will ruin you! And I will make sure the party never works with you! Get your shit together!’” and hung up.
Robinson, who is openly gay, was accused of similar abuse by several women, who said he referred to them in demeaning, derogatory and sexual terms, attempted to bully them, and even withheld important campaign resources unless they wrote opinion pieces about his favorite issues. Yet the party chair, Miller, refused to investigate or take their concerns seriously. To the contrary, he attacked Robinson’s critics on the county party’s official email last week, naming all of the women coming forward and questioning their motives.
“Are these persons and possibly their special interest backers attempting to embarrass and cancel me and our volunteers?” Miller asked in part. “I will not be CANCELLED.” Hilariously, after these remarks received condemnation from everyone (including Utah’s Republican governor) but Robinson, Miller performed a spectacular if unconvincing flip-flop, and tweeted,
“I applaud these women for coming forward and I have encouraged any accusers to come forward. I take these allegations seriously.”
Such cynical dishonesty alone justified his forced resignation.
Obviously, Miller’s withdrawal doesn’t fix the problem. Vice Chair Scott Rosenbush will serve as interim chair until the county party elects new leadership at its convention on April 10, and text messages and emails show that Rosenbush knew of the complaints about Robinson. He also did nothing. Meanwhile, Dave Robinson is still handling the party’s communications.
This is not a Scott Miller problem, it’s a Utah Republican Party cultural problem. But at least Scott Miller, unlike some other politicians, had the sense to resign after showing himself to be hopelessly obtuse regarding appropriate conduct and comportment in the workplace.
I must say, I know Utah is unusual, but I do not comprehend how any politician in the U.S. in 2021 can be so clueless regarding what is inappropriate conduct toward women. Having been raised to respect the opposite sex at all times by a father raised by a mother he regarded as the strongest and most admirable individual in his life, I didn’t comprehend male sexism when I was 12, much less now. How blind, deaf and stupid does one have to be to perpetuate the kind of culture the Utah Republican women are enduring?