Shocking Allegation Caps Off Primary Debate from Trump-Backed Candidate

By: David Donovan | Published: Jun 12, 2024

Trent Staggs, a candidate for the U.S. Senate with the support of Trump, ended his time on stage at a Republican primary debate on Monday night by accusing his opponent, Rep. John Curtis, a Republican from Utah, of insider trading.

On March 4, 2020, Abbott Laboratories — a medical device organization — was granted government subsidizing to create a Coronavirus test. Curtis bought stock in the organization that very day, Staggs said.

Damning Accusations

“This is the problem in Congress at a time when somebody should be looking out for their constituents,” Staggs claimed.

A discussion on a stage between two men with an audience of people sitting watching

X user MayorStaggs

“They end up looking out for their own profit,” according to Staggs who is the current mayor of Riverton.


Contract with Utah

Staggs continued saying that he confirmed an agreement with Utah and would “ban the trading of individual stocks for Congress and their families.”

Two men posing for a photo with signage behind them stating Staggs U.S. Senate

X user MayorStaggs

He went on to state: “I want to also stop members of Congress from retiring and becoming lobbyists and enriching themselves further.” 

Curtis Request

Glen Mills, the debate moderator, stated that they would have to conclude the discussion because they were running out of time following Staggs’ closing remarks. 

A group of people posing for a photo in a foyer

X user RepJohnCurtis

“You have to let me respond to that,” Curtis replied. “As fast as possible.” was Mill’s reply to the request.

Responding to Accusations

“That is such a low shot,” Curtis said. “You wait until I have no response. You throw something out that I can’t respond to.”

Man standing in front of an airport gesturing while he speaks

X user RepJohnCurtis

He continued: “You’ve accused me of a felony here tonight. You better have very good evidence, and I’d like to challenge you to produce that evidence that somehow I’ve committed a felony.”

Stock Purchase

The Salt Lake Tribune affirmed Curtis purchased stocks that went up because of the Coronavirus pandemic, as per financial disclosures. 

The marquis of the Tribune Building in Salt Lake City, Utah, headquarters of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Wikimedia Commons user Cool Hand Luke

Curtis stated to the newspaper at the time, “The real story isn’t as damning,” in response to questions from reporters.


Mutual Fund Manager

Curtis stated that a mutual fund manager executed the majority of the stock purchases without his knowledge, including those of BlackRock Inc. and Abbott Laboratories. 

The director of the Pentagon Flight Medicine Clinic, Dr. John S. Baxter, conducts COVID-19 testing mid-air, as Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and staff travel from Hawaii to Japan, March 14, 2021

U.S. Secretary of Defense

The purchases were made at significant times, like when Abbott approved a COVID-19 test and when BlackRock directed bond purchases during a downturn in the economy.


Romney Replacement

Staggs, who is racing to supplant resigning Sen. Mitt Romney, acquired a reputation in 2020 for his resistance to mask mandates in the midst of the Covid pandemic.

Man sitting in a chair waving as signs reading Romney Believe in America are held up behind him.

Flickr user Gage Skidmore

Notwithstanding Trump’s endorsment, Staggs has received the support of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.


Paul Endorsement

In May Rand stated that Staggs is the “type of Republican” needed in the upper chamber after Romney retires.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul speaking with attendees at the 2nd Annual Turning Point USA Winter Gala at the Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Flickr user Gage Skidmore

Staggs has claimed he will “push back against the establishment” if he is elected to the position after Romney announced that he would retire at the end of his term next year.


Trump Seal of Approval

According to Trump in a post to Truth Social back in April: “Trent Staggs is 100% MAGA, and is running to fill The Mitt Romney, a Total Loser, Seat as the next Senator from the Great State of Utah,”

Donald Trump clapping hands at a rally as people cheer in the crowd

He continued to say: “Highly Successful Entrepreneur, who has served brilliantly as Mayor of Riverton for the past six years, Trent knows how to Create Jobs, Stop Inflation, Grow the Economy, and Secure the Border.”


Differing Views

Almost a dozen Republicans came forward to compete for the seat including former House Speaker Brad Wilson.

Brad Wilson at a round table with four other men as they are in the midst of a discussion.

X user BradWilsonUT

This race for the nomination is expected to show what kind of political conservatism will be most appealing to voters in the state.


Senate Retirement

Romney’s statement on his retirement to Fox News Digital stated: “I have spent my last 25 years in public service of one kind or another. At the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-80s. Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders.”

taken at the Mitt Romney rally in Norfolk with Paul Ryan, VA. 08/11/12

Flickr user James Currie

He went on to say: “They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.”

The explosive allegations from Staggs are sure to have an impact on how voters will view the race for the seat.