Former Republican senator spent his dying days apologizing to Muslims for Donald Trump

  • Former Republican Senator Bob Bennett died on May 4 after a struggle from pancreatic cancer  
  • His family say he spent his last days trying to apologize to Muslim-Americans for Donald Trump 
  • 'He wanted to apologize on behalf of the Republican party,' his wife Joyce told the Daily Beast
  • Bennett lost his Utah seat to Mike Lee in the Tea Party wave of the 2010 Midterm elections 

A former Republican senator spent his dying days apologizing to Muslims for Donald Trump

Three-term Utah Senator Bob Bennett passed away on May 4, after a struggle with pancreatic cancer.  

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Bennett's family say he spent his last year becoming more and more disappointed in his party for not stopping Trump. 

After suffering a stroke in his final days, one of his last wishes in the hospital was to speak to Muslim patients.

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Former Republican Senator Bob Bennett spent his last days reaching out to Muslims, to apologize for Donald Trump. Pictured above in December 2007 

Former Republican Senator Bob Bennett spent his last days reaching out to Muslims, to apologize for Donald Trump. Bennett pictured on the left in December 2007. 

'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, who relayed the story to The Daily Beast. 

While they ultimately were not able to make that wish come true, Bennett seized many other opportunities to connect with Muslim-Americans. 

His wife, Joyce, recalls him walking up to talk to a woman wearing a hijab, while flying from Washington, DC to Utah this past Christmas. She says her husband told the woman that [he was glad [she was] in America, and [she was] welcome here'.

'He wanted to apologize on behalf of the Republican Party,' Mrs Bennett recalled. 

Bennett echoed this sentiment in one of his last interviews, telling Utah's Deseret News newspaper: 'There’s a lot of Muslims here in this area. I’m glad they’re here,' he said. 

The three-term senator pictured above with his wife Joyce and their children. Bennett died on May 4 after a struggle with pancreatic cancer 

The three-term senator pictured above with his wife Joyce and their children. Bennett died on May 4 after a struggle with pancreatic cancer 

Bennett's family say he often went up to Muslims to tell them they were welcome in this country. Bennett is pictured above, surrounded by his family including six children and 20 grandchildren 

Bennett's family say he often went up to Muslims to tell them they were welcome in this country. Bennett is pictured above, surrounded by his family including six children and 20 grandchildren 

Bennett's son Jim says that his father spent the past year growing more and more surprised with the staying power of Trump. He says his father was most critical of the presumptive Republican nominee's 'xenophobia' and his plan to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. 

'He was astonished and aghast that Donald Trump had the staying power that he had… He had absolutely no respect for Donald Trump, and I think got angry and frustrated when it became clear that the party wasn’t going to steer clear of Trumpism,' his son said.  

Bennett's compassion for Muslims is likely due in part to his Mormon faith. When Trump first announced his plan to temporarily ban Muslims from the U.S. out of terrorism concerns, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out hard against the plan, issuing a statement saying their founder, Joseph Smith, would have died 'defending the rights...of any denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves'.  

'That was something my father felt very keenly - recognizing the parallel between the Mormon experience and the Muslim experience. [He] wanted to see these people treated with kindness, and not ostracized,' his son said.

Bennett served as a Utah senator from 1993 until 2011, when he was voted out of Congress in the Tea Party wave of the 2010 midterm elections, replaced by Mike Lee.  

However, he remained a popular bipartisan figure in Washington, DC, where one of his two funerals was held. 

Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell an Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid spoke at the DC service.   

Bennett was survived by his wife, a brother, a sister, four daughters, two sons and 20 grandchildren.

Friends and family watch as Bennett's casket is taken from the Federal Heights Ward Chapel for it's short trip to interment services at the Salt Lake City Cemetery on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Funerals were helped for the former senator in both Utah and Washington, DC 

Friends and family watch as Bennett's casket is taken from the Federal Heights Ward Chapel for it's short trip to interment services at the Salt Lake City Cemetery on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Funerals were helped for the former senator in both Utah and Washington, DC 

Mitt Romney leaves the Utah  funeral services for  Bennett in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mitt Romney leaves the Utah  funeral services for Bennett in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 14, 2016

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