Former GOP senator Bob Bennett from Utah died on May 4 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. On his deathbed he asked: “Are there any Muslims in the hospital?”
The Daily Beast and Deseret News report that in his last days, following a stroke, Bennett’s mind was occupied with apologizing to Muslims for the xenophobia and hatred expressed by his party’s presumptive presidential candidate.
“I’d love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologize to them on behalf of the Republican party for Donald Trump,” Bennett told his wife and son. He said he was glad there were so many Muslims in the Washington DC area, calling them “wonderful.”
Though he ultimately did not manage to talk to any Muslims at the hospital, during a trip to Utah in December before his stroke he approached a woman wearing a hijab to tell her she was welcome in America, according to his family. He was incredibly frustrated with Trump’s rise and the direction of the Republican party.
Bennett, a middle-of-the road Republican who was ousted from his senate seat in 2010 by the Tea Party, was also Mormon. The faith preaches religious freedom, and the church came out against Trump’s idea to ban Muslims from coming to the United States. Utah, a majority-Mormon state, rejected Trump in its primary election, opting for Ted Cruz.