- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Hillary Clinton is making an appeal to Utah’s Mormon population as she tries to peel away voters who may be reluctant to support Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The Democratic presidential nominee on Wednesday wrote a guest editorial in the Deseret News, the newspaper owned by the Utah-based Mormon church.

Clinton wrote that she’s fought for religious freedom and compares Trump’s call for a temporary ban of foreign Muslims entering the U.S. to past efforts to persecute Mormons in America.

She quotes former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who said Trump “fired before aiming,” and Utah’s Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, who did not join other GOP governors last year who threatened to stop accepting Syrian refugees out of terrorism fears.

“Listen to your governor, who saw Trump’s statement as a reminder of President Rutherford B. Hayes’ attempt to limit Mormon immigration to America in 1879,” Clinton wrote.

Clinton also quoted Rosemary M. Wixom, a leader of an organization for children within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, saying that individuals are strong but, “Together, with God, we are unstoppable.”

“Sister Wixom is right, and she’s not alone,” Clinton wrote. “Generations of LDS leaders, from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to Gordon Hinckley and Thomas Monson, have noted the infinite blessings we have received from the Constitution of the United States.”

Clinton’s campaign did not respond to a message seeking comment about the editorial.

It’s unclear what effect it will have on Utah voters, particularly Republicans who remain firmly opposed to Clinton but have not embraced Trump.

Trump finished third in the state’s GOP presidential caucus and his proposed ban, brash demeanor and past infidelities didn’t go over well in the socially conservative state, where more than 60 percent of residents are Mormon.

Most members of the religion are Republican, but they also value civility and religious freedom and have bristled at Trump’s remarks on the campaign trail.

Romney, one the most high-profile Mormon men in America, labeled Trump “a phony” during a blistering speech earlier this year where he called the billionaire unfit for office and dangerous for the country. Herbert, who backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, has resisted endorsing Trump and waffled on whether he’ll vote for him in November.

Marty Carpenter, Herbert’s campaign manager, had no comment Wednesday on the editorial.


Link to Clinton’s editorial: https://bit.ly/2aSKcw3

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