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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz defended his vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Thursday, saying his vote did not equal an endorsement.
Chaffetz, who appeared on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” said a vote and an endorsement are separate matters.
“I guess I do see a difference between an endorsement and publicly defending somebody and my actual vote,” Chaffetz said. “In the context of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, it’s Donald Trump.”
Last month, Chaffetz said “I’m out” when it came to throwing his support behind Trump.
That statement came in the wake of the release of “hot mic” comments made by Trump during an Access Hollywood shoot in 2005, in which Trump bragged about being sexually aggressive toward women.
Chaffetz said Thursday that he would “never, ever” vote for Clinton and he and his wife voted for Trump last week.
“I think Hillary Clinton is that bad. She is so bad and so wrong for the United States of America, I think her ability to look in the camera and lie, lie, lie scares me more than anything,” Chaffetz said. “I think I reflect what a lot of Utahns, a lot of Americans are struggling with, but at the end of the day I really like the idea of Donald Trump. But those actions and those words, we should never find them acceptable.”
Chaffetz said he did not consider voting for independent candidate Evan McMullin, calling that option “a fast track to nowhere.”
He said his endorsements haven’t meant much, anyway.
“I mean, hey, if my endorsement mattered, Mitt Romney would be the president of the United States,” Chaffetz quipped. “If my endorsement really mattered, Marco Rubio would have been our nominee.”
Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, also was questioned by Blitzer about the matter of the Clinton emails.
He noted a change in stance from the FBI.
“The FBI had been giving us the 302s — the so-called investigative summaries, the interviews that they’ve been doing,” Chaffetz said. “But now they won’t let us have them because the FBI is telling us this is now a pending matter.”