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Candidates Talk Trump, Social Media in A.G. Primary Debate

Tuesday’s hour-long debate included sharp remarks on social media, priorities, federal overreach, trust and accountability and abortion.
Rachel+Terry+during+the+Republican+Primary+Debate+for+Attorney+General+%28Photo+by+Rick+Egan+%7C+The+Salt+Lake+Tribune%29
Rachel Terry during the Republican Primary Debate for Attorney General (Photo by Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune)

 

Frank Mylar emphasized his experience in law, Rachel Terry highlighted her commitment to “the work” and Derek Brown pointed to his knowledge of politics and legal matters after being asked what makes them the best candidate for attorney general at Tuesday’s Republican primary debate.

The occasionally sharp remarks at Tuesday’s debate primarily focused on a handful of issues. Throughout the hour-long debate, candidates discussed social media, priorities, federal overreach, trust and accountability and abortion. 

Derek Brown and Meta

Brown’s previous work lobbying for Meta quickly became a point of contention, especially since Utah and 41 other states filed a lawsuit against the company in October.

“One of my concerns is that Mr. Brown has been lobbying for some of the very corporations that are being sued and investigated by the Attorney General’s office, such as representing Facebook since 2017,” Terry said just five minutes into the debate. 

Brown fired back, saying Terry’s arguments weren’t entirely accurate.

“I don’t still represent them, so there is no conflict, and she, of course, knows that,” he later rebutted. “She’s hoping, frankly, that you don’t know that.”

Brown also mentioned his endorsement from Gov. Spencer Cox and other legislators “who’ve been pushing and advocating to hold [social media companies] accountable.”

“So if there’s some sort of conflict, it’s not something that they’re obviously not concerned with,” Brown said. 

Terry later reinforced her point. 

“It’s important that the public understands that when he was representing Facebook, he wasn’t representing the children of Utah,” she said. 

Priorities 

When asked what his top three priorities as attorney general would be, Brown said he would protect children and vulnerable populations, curb federal overreach and create more transparent practices. 

“This needs to be the most effective, most prestigious, most well run law firm in the state of Utah,” Brown said. 

Meanwhile, Mylar discussed his priority with Title IX, due to the Biden administration expanding protections to transgender students.

“The most obvious one to me is reinstating what Title IX is supposed to be. I’m going to defend women’s sports, bathrooms and showers without exceptions — there should not be exceptions,” Mylar said. “We got to start looking at the rights of these girls to privacy and religious freedom and their safety is being invaded in the name of political correctness.” 

Mylar also discussed pushing against the federal government and fighting immigration. 

Terry stated her priorities were fighting federal overreach in public lands, education and energy. She also emphasized her commitment to trust and transparency.

“That means being accessible, open and responsive for the decisions that I make as your attorney general, and that includes which cases we pursue and which ones that we don’t,” Terry said. 

Voting in the 2024 Election

The candidates were all asked who they would be voting for this fall via an online question submitted by a viewer. All three said they supported former president Donald Trump. 

Mylar cited Trump’s record as the reason he supports him. 

“I don’t care what you say about how you like him or not — you look at what he actually did,” Mylar said. 

He also revealed he would be supporting Phil Lyman in the governor’s race. 

“I was very offended when Gov. Cox vetoed the women’s sports bill two years ago,” he explained. “That is very, very troubling to me.”

In March 2022, Gov. Spencer Cox vetoed H.B. 11, citing concerns over last-minute changes that could financially harm the Utah High School Athletic Association and Utah school districts.

Terry said she looks forward to working with the Trump administration on issues related to public lands, Title IX changes and energy. 

“When it comes to the governor’s race … I remain neutral because I work under the governor, and so it felt inappropriate to be stepping out and making any kind of endorsement,” Terry explained. 

“I’m willing to actually tell you where I stand on these, both of these issues,” Brown responded in a quick stab at Terry. 

Brown also cited Trump’s record as the reason he’s supporting him. He also revealed he would support Cox because of his “conservative track record.”

Trump Convictions

The candidates were asked about Trump’s recent convictions in a post-debate interview.

Brown said he trusts the jury’s verdict but is also curious to see how the case holds up in an appeals court. 

“As far as the law goes, we have to have trust and faith in those institutions,” Brown said. 

Meanwhile, Mylar described the verdict as “one of the biggest miscarriages of justice we’ve seen in a long time.” He cited concerns over how jurors were instructed to approach the trial and how almost all motions made by the defense to exclude evidence were denied.  

“This is something that should frighten everyone in this country,” Mylar said. 

Terry also discussed concerns over how Trump’s trial was built and how the jury was instructed to vote. She also said that the highly politicized nature of the trial was troubling and undermined nationwide trust in the judicial system. 

The primary election day is June 25, but mail-in ballots must be postmarked by June 24. The last day to register for the primary election is June 14. Information on voter registration can be found here

 

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@JosiHinds

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About the Contributor
Josi Hinds
Josi Hinds, News Editor
(she/her) Josi Hinds is a senior at the University of Utah studying journalism with a minor in Spanish. She spent a year as an arts writer before moving to the news desk as editor. Josi grew up in Bozeman, Montana before moving to Salt Lake for school. In her free time, she enjoys climbing, arts and crafts and caring for her plants.

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