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Trent Staggs Supported DeSantis Running for President

Despite his own involvement in recruiting DeSantis to run for President, the candidate for U.S. Senate has criticized other Republicans for their perceived disloyalty to MAGA.

In a bid to rally around his candidacy, Trent Staggs, Mayor of Riverton and a candidate U.S. Senate seat from Utah frequently calls out fellow Republicans, most notably U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, for their lack of support for former President Donald Trump.

Despite this posturing, Staggs was part of a coalition of Utah Republicans who urged Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to challenge Trump for the GOP’s nomination in 2024. 

“One of Trump’s messages was there would be so much winning that people would get tired of winning. Quite frankly, I’m tired of losing,” said Utah State Senator Todd Weiler, who led the coalition Staggs joined. “The last two elections proved Donald Trump is a drag on the party. I think now is the time to send the message. After six years of the party being dominated by Trump, it’s important for people who want to see the party move on to stand up.”

In retrospect, DeSantis’ Presidential campaign would be mired by severe internal turmoil and a host controversies. Ultimately, the fallout was so severe that the Florida Governor would only receive a measly nine Republican delegate votes before dropping out of the race in January 2024. Trump would go on to dominate with 1,860 delegate votes. After this, Staggs pivoted from DeSantis to court the Trump wing of the Party.

In a campaign ad, Staggs criticizes Romney for his role in impeaching President Trump. Similar sentiments are echoed in his opinion piece Enough Is Enough: Why I’m Going To Replace Mitt Romney, wherein he writes that Romney “undercut [President Trump] at every chance.” Staggs has proudly proclaimed that he “had the courage to endorse President Trump.”

And while Trump may have Staggs’ endorsement, Staggs does not have Trump’s endorsement.

Staggs issued a statement in late 2023 criticizing Utah Governor Spencer Cox, House Speaker Brad Wilson, and Senate President Stuart Adams, all of whom are Republicans, and falsely purporting that Utah had been designated a sanctuary state. The Utah Sheriffs' Association responded by asserting that Staggs’ statement was "naive and uninformed."

“We express our extreme disappointment in Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs for his naive and uninformed press release in support of ICE's liberal agenda that blames state leaders for ICE's failures,” said Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

However, this has not stopped Staggs from touting the issue. Presently, his campaign website still reads that “Mayor Staggs was the only one in this race that called out the fact that Utah had been designated a Sanctuary State by ICE, and called on state leadership to correct the problem.”

It may be too early to discern whether these controversies have affected the momentum surrounding his campaign. The most recent fundraising reporting available on the Federal Elections Commission website does not, for the most part, show any contributions made after December 31, 2023. However, it is notable that the most recent contribution to his campaign listed by the FEC is a personal loan of $40 thousand—bringing his year-to-date total to $99,900.

Despite one’s own feelings on the former President, there is little doubt that loyalty to Trump has become a litmus test for Republicans in virtually every level of office throughout the nation. A sizable number of Republicans vying for political seats have taken the same approach Staggs has and are leaning into Trumps popularity.


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