As I have previously written, I am a proud alumnus of Sen. Mike Lee’s Senate office. I was only a Judiciary Committee summer law clerk, but that experience was more than enough for me to forge an indelible image of the junior senator from Utah: a deeply humble, principled constitutionalist who fights each and every day for the conservative movement and the nation in which he so unwaveringly believes. I admire him greatly. Two years later, I still keep above my desk two personal photos: one with my former boss Mike Lee, and one with the man whom I so very much wanted to become the next President of the United States, Ted Cruz.
In the Republican presidential primary, Mike Lee became the first U.S. Senator to endorse his good friend, Ted Cruz. After endorsing Cruz, Lee became a powerful campaign surrogate in the weeks before Cruz’s fateful night in Indiana; after Cruz dropped out of the race, Lee wasted little time in noting that the quasi-fascistic fraudster Donald Trump “scares [him] to death.” And in late June, Lee went on an epic rant in explaining why he still has not gotten around to endorsing Trump:
“We can get into the fact that [Trump] accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK. We can go through the fact that he’s made statements that some have identified correctly as religiously intolerant. We can get into the fact that he’s wildly unpopular in my state, in part because my state consists of people who are members of a religious minority church. A people who were ordered exterminated by the governor of Missouri in 1838. And statements like that make them nervous.”
In Cleveland, the Rules Committee at the Republican National Convention has 112 members. Two of them are current members of Congress: Mike Lee and Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico. With the Rules Committee set to vote either late Thursday or Friday on the “conscience clause” provision that is a necessary precursor for a full convention-wide delegate unbinding vote, Mike Lee thus finds himself in a unique position of being able to lead by putting his firm convictions to power. As Yahoo! News noted yesterday:
…Lee is at the heart of this battle. His support for or against the conscience clause proposal will send a powerful signal to those among the other 111 members of the Rules Committee who are wavering. Lee’s wife, Sharon—who, like her husband, was chosen by the other Utah delegates to represent them on the committee—is believed likely to follow his lead, so his decision could swing two votes of the 28 required to bring the motion to the floor. One member of the Rules Committee said many members believe that Lee’s support could be crucial.
Yahoo! also reported that Lee has already made up his mind on whether to support the so-called conscience clause in the Rules Committee, so it is only a matter of time before his decision is formally unveiled. But today, Alexandra Jaffe of NBC News had this to say:
The effort could get a boost from Utah Sen. Mike Lee and his wife, two delegates on the Rules Committee that both the Trump campaign and Free the Delegates operatives expect to vote in favor of the conscience clause. Lee was an early endorser and remains a good friend of Sen. Ted Cruz, and remains fiercely critical of the presumptive GOP nominee.
Talk about burying the lead.
It is difficult to put in perspective how important a development this would be for the #FreeTheDelegates movement. Mike Lee is, by far, the most widely known and most credible of all the delegates on the Rules Committee. His persuasive power would send a tacit signal not only to those on the Rules Committee who are waffling, but also to all the other delegates who would then proceed to an up-or-down vote on the convention floor. While #FreeTheDelegates might still succeed absent Lee’s involvement, his blessing of the conscience clause in the Rules Committee would bestow unprecedented legitimacy upon the broader end goal of dumping Trump and ensuring the Republican Party nominates an actual conservative who can defeat Hillary Clinton in November.
Mike Lee is an ardent patriot, a tireless advocate for a constitutionalist vision of limited-government conservatism, and, perhaps most importantly, a genuinely good man. I am praying for him right now to do the right thing.