But in a speech to honor the Orlando victims, Cox proceeded to do exactly that: Be a source of comfort for the gay community in one of its darkest times.
Cox, whom Gov. Gary Herbert (R) surprised many by plucking from the Utah statehouse and appointing him to the No. 2 post in 2013, gave an honest, humbling, heartfelt speech that acknowledged America's shortcomings — including his own — when it comes to the gay community and called on the nation to rally behind it. You can read the full transcript here, or watch it above.
Cox started out by saying he grew up in a small town and admitting he wasn't very nice to the kids who were "different" — the kids he later found out were gay. But as he got older and got into politics and actually met and worked with gay people, he said "his heart changed." He apologized to them.
"I believe that we can all agree we have come a long way as a society when it comes to our acceptance and understanding of the LGBTQ community (did I get that right?)," he said.
But he went on to share another dark truth: his sense that some in the straight community's empathy lessened after finding out the massacre happened at a gay bar, and his sorrow at how politics about LGBT rights and gun rights and the war on terrorism quickly overwhelmed the facts of what happened.
"Usually when tragedy occurs, we see our nation come together," he said. "I was saddened, yesterday, to see far too many retreating to their overworn policy corners and demagoguery."
To prove his point, he quoted the prophet Muhammad. He quoted Jesus. He quoted LBJ. And he shared his own empathy — the best he could.
"I do know what it feels like to be scared," he said, his voice quavering. "And I do know what it feels like to be sad. And I do know what it feels like to be rejected. And, more importantly, I know what it feels like to be loved."
The speech has gone viral and is being hailed by some in the LGBT community. The LGBT news website Queerty declared Wednesday afternoon, "This Is The Republican Party We Need."
Cox finished his speech with this, which pretty much summed up his entire address:
"On behalf of the 3 million people of the state of Utah, We Are Orlando. We love you. And I love you."