Standard-Examiner

Utah lawmakers might want to wait before naming a highway after Donald Trump

Wednesday , March 07, 2018 - 4:30 AM

Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, greets guests at the Utah Capitol before U.S. President Donald Trump arrived Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. Trump was joined by Sen. Orrin Hatch and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to sign a presidential proclamation shrinking Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

Francisco Kjolseth

Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, greets guests at the Utah Capitol before U.S. President Donald Trump arrived Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. Trump was joined by Sen. Orrin Hatch and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to sign a presidential proclamation shrinking Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

STANDARD-EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD

Rep. Mike Noel, a Kanab Republican, sponsored a bill to change the name of the Utah National Parks Highway to the Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway — just his little way of thanking the president for slashing nearly 2 million acres from the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, opening them for oil, gas, coal and uranium development.

“I think it’s a small price to pay to name a highway after him when he does in fact protect public lands,” Noel said during a hearing on House Bill 481.

But speaking of prices to pay, Noel and Republican lawmakers might want to see how Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit turns out before they decide to name a highway after the 45th president.

You remember Stormy Daniels, the porn star who signed a nondisclosure agreement with Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, shortly before the 2016 election. Cohen acknowledged in February that he’d paid Daniels $130,000, but Daniels says since Trump didn’t sign the agreement, it’s invalid.

Daniels’ lawsuit also claims her sexual relationship with Trump started during the summer of 2006 and lasted “well into the year 2007,” The Hill reported.

Perhaps, as Gov. Gary Herbert suggested Tuesday, Utah might want to wait before attaching Trump’s name to the Utah National Parks Highway.

"Typically, at least in Utah, we wait until people have left office and reward them for the work they've done, or sometimes even after they pass away," Herbert said.

Someone, for instance, like Jon M. Huntsman Sr., the Utah billionaire and philanthropist who died in February. Rep. Susan Duckworth, a Magna Democrat, proposed naming the highway for Huntsman.

It doesn’t stand a chance. Noel and his Republican colleagues may admire Huntsman, but they venerate Trump.

Don’t think so? Just ask Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams, a Layton Republican.

Trump has done more for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts "than any other president," Adams told the Deseret News.

Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act, created 18 national monuments, four national game preserves, five national parks and 150 national forests. But in Adams’ mind, he doesn’t compare to Trump.

Utah’s Republican lawmakers consider pornography a public health crisis. Yet they can’t wait to name a highway after a president who had an affair with a porn star.

They may want to see how the lawsuit turns out.