Trump's visit to Utah rife with all sorts of Twitter possibilities

Tuesday , December 05, 2017 - 5:00 AM2 comments

MARK SAAL, Standard-Examiner Staff

Well. President Donald Trump just paid a visit to the Beehive State.

He was in Salt Lake City to sign proclamations reducing the size of the controversial Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, and to briefly tour The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Welfare Square.

Being terminally bored on Monday, I spent several hours watching televised coverage of Trump’s whirlwind visit to our state, during which local commentators reminded us of several alarming facts:

Alarming Fact No. 1: The president’s approval rating in Utah is hovering right around 50 percent. Think about that for a moment. A year into the most divisive, vindictive, insecure — and least presidential — presidency we’ve ever seen, half of our fellow Utahns still actually approve of the guy.

Clearly, this opioid epidemic is much worse than had been previously reported.

Alarming Fact No. 2: As president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Orrin Hatch is a mere three — count ’em, three — old white guy heartbeats away from the presidency. So much for being able to sleep tonight.

As much as I was personally offended by Trump’s presidential proclamations on Monday, I must say that — as a writer — I’m even more bothered by the name of one of the monuments. Bears Ears National Monument gets its moniker from a pair of mesas that are said to resemble the ears of a bear poking its head above the horizon.

But note that there are only two mesa “ears” here, meaning just one giant bear. So really, it shouldn’t be the plural “Bears Ears National Monument,” but rather the singular possessive “Bear’s Ears National Monument.”

Or better yet, simply go with the singular “Bear Ears National Monument.” Because then the 12-year-old in me would be absolutely giddy to hear our commander-in-chief repeatedly uttering a phrase that, when spoken quickly, sounds like “Bear Rears.” (Hey! Maybe Farmington High School could change its controversial mascot name from “Phoenix” to “Bear Ears.” That should give rival high schools something to work with.)

During his speech, Trump said he was signing the proclamations to reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of the land to its citizens. He also joked about the fact that, as a real-estate developer, talk of millions of acres of land is music to his ears.

“We will put our natural treasures to great and wonderful use,” Trump said, promising “responsible economic development.”

In other words: “Gentlemen, start your backhoes …”

On an unrelated topic, at one point Trump incorrectly referred to the local dominant religion as “The Church of Jesus Christ of THE Latter-day Saints.” Clearly, someone wasn’t paying attention on the tour.

Monday’s visit also afforded irreverent columnists like me the opportunity to speculate on a few possible Trump tweets related to his brief stopover. Potential tweets like:

• Check it out! On approach to SLC airport, and I can still continue tweeting about Crooked Hillary. Try THAT, unwashed masses who have to fly commercially. #airforceonerocks

• Glad to be back in Utah, where I know many, many Mormons. Ask anybody. I have more Latter-day friends than Harry Reid and Mitt Romney put together. #iwinagain

• Huh. Where are all the black people in this town? It looks like “The Brady Bunch 25th Anniversary Reunion Special” around here. #whiteanddelightsome

• Met with LDS leaders for a tour of Welfare Square. They even let me throw paper towels at homeless people. #golong

• Before the tour, I thought “welfare square” was an actuary who refused to get a job. Turns out, it’s even worse — a depressing place where poor people push around shopping carts filled with off-brand groceries.

• At the end of the tour, some German guy offered to make me an honorary Mormon. AND an airline pilot! I asked if I had to give up lying, alcohol or lustful thoughts about women, said he’d check something called “Handbook 1.” #notholdingmybreath

• LDS church said I was PROBABLY going to be made an honorary Mormon, but I would have to agree to a bishop’s interview and a major repentance process. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway! #time(andeternity)mormonoftheyear

• Best. Signing. Ceremony. Ever. Met lots of nice developers, ranchers, miners and Navajos. Soooo wanted to yell ‘Pocahontas!’ or ‘Geronimo!’ just for the fun of it.

• Utah visit ending, and still no blacks in sight. I’ve instructed my chief of staff to look into relocating our nation’s capitol. #thisistheplace

* * *

The most ironic part of Trump’s visit to Utah? The guy basically guts two national monuments of incredible natural beauty in the West, while defending the existence of Confederate monuments all over the South. One can’t help but wonder if Trump would have been so keen on marginalizing Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante if they’d been named after Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson.

Sheesh. Talk about your bear rears.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272 or Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at

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