SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday described President Donald Trump’s tenure so far as erratic and lamented that he seems to focus on too many issues rather than honing in on the most important ones.
The Republican governor also noted that governing is different than running a business and is not a “dictatorship.”
Herbert tempered his criticism by saying Trump has done many good things, including his choices of Cabinet members and a new U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
Herbert made his comments during his monthly news conference on KUED-TV in Salt Lake City while responding to a question about Trump’s performance.
“He gets distracted I think with some of the other things that happen and some of the criticisms,” Herbert said. “I think he could sharpen his game by focusing on the more important issues and the let the other stuff kind of slide.”
Herbert’s position on Trump vacillated during the 2016 election. After being an early critic, he backed Trump in August but said he wouldn’t persuade other fellow Republicans to vote for him.
In October, Herbert was among the first Republican officials to withdraw support following the release of a tape that captured Trump making lewd comments about women.
The governor has said he did not vote for Trump.
Herbert said it’s important to remember it’s the first time Trump has been a government leader.
“It’s nice to have some of those business practices and understanding of the free market, capitalistic system we have here in the America, that’s good news, but it’s not a dictatorship,” Herbert said.
As the boss of a company, “pretty well what you say goes,” the governor said. But in Washington, “you have to get along with some other pretty strong personalities we call to Congress, with states and governors and local government officials as well as the private sector.”
Herbert said it’s too early to say whether he would support a Trump’s re-election bid, noting he doesn’t know who else will run.
He said he likes that the stock market is doing well, that the Trump administration is re-assessing public lands policies, and government agencies are working better with the states.
“There’s a lot of things to like, but there’s things to be concerned about,” Herbert said.