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Utah governor talks Trump, gun control ahead of Pence visit

August 21, 2019
FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2018, file photo, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during a news conference at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. Herbert is calling for increased discussions about mental health and violent video games in response to recent mass shootings, and lamenting that President Donald Trump's messaging sometimes distracts from the administration's strong policy. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2018, file photo, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during a news conference at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. Herbert is calling for increased discussions about mental health and violent video games in response to recent mass shootings, and lamenting that President Donald Trump's messaging sometimes distracts from the administration's strong policy. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is calling for increased discussions about mental health and violent video games in response to recent mass shootings.

Herbert added that President Donald Trump’s messaging sometimes distracts from the administration’s strong policy.

During his monthly news conference at KUED-TV on Wednesday, the Republican governor said while he is open to discussing stronger gun control measures, legislators need to consider how mental illness and violent video games contribute to mass shootings.

Herbert’s response echoed calls made by Trump after the deadly mass shootings in Ohio and Texas that occurred earlier this month. The president has cited mental illness and video games but steered away from talk of curbing gun sales.

“There’s a sense of frustration about why this is happening ... I don’t know if there’s an easy answer on this ... it’s not fair to compare, ‘Well, they do it over here and this is their result’ as opposed to what we’re doing here in America. We are a very free and open society,” he said.

Herbert’s comments come one day before Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit to Utah to discuss ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

Pence is scheduled to speak at Merit Medical Systems, a disposable medical device manufacturer Herbert called an “ideal place” to highlight the benefits of the trade agreement as the company conducts business in Mexico and Canada.

Referring to Pence “a good friend” of his, Herbert said the visit would be good for Utah Republicans still wary of the president as Pence is well received in the state.

“He’s a religious man. He’s conducted his life in such a way as to be considered very honest,” Herbert said.

As for Trump, the governor acknowledged his “rhetoric and messaging” sometimes distracts from the administration’s strong policy.

“I think what President Trump has done in many ways is really good — as far as what he’s doing,” Herbert said. “We all have a little bit of a pause sometimes with what he says.”

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