President Trump signs presidential proclamations modifying the Bears Ears and Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Salt Lake City, Utah.

President Trump departed for his trip to Salt Lake City, Utah this morning Nov 4. Before boarding the helicopter which will take him to Air Force One, President Trump briefly addressed the press.

“We’re going to Utah,” Trump said to reporters. “We’re going to be doing something that the state of Utah and others have wanted to be done for many, many years. It will be one of the great, really, events in this country for a long time. So important for states’ rights and so important for the people of Utah — and I know a lot of you will be coming with me, we’ll have a lot of time to talk.”

President Trump Arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah

Air Force One arrived at the Utah Air National Guard base adjacent to the SLC International Airport at 12:48 ET. Emerging from aircraft, Trump parted his arms and greeted the assembled crowd waiting at the air base. Trump was followed by United States Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, sporting a cowboy hat, President pro tempore Orrin Hatch, and Senator Mike Lee.

Trump and his party were greeted by Utah Governor Gary Herbert and House Speaker Greg Hughes, who were waiting for them at the bottom of the steps. The president then greeted the crowd, and said of a miniature Trump, a teenaged boy with a blonde wig and makeup on, “I like this kid, I like this kid!”

President Trump then made his way to Welfare Square via motorcade, at 1:08 pm ET. Along the way, supporters lined the roads taking photos, one woman wearing a pink “Make America Great Again” hat. Also on the road were protesters holding signs: one woman held up a sign that simply said “No!” and other protesters held up signs reading “Hatch a better plan,” “Dump Trump,” and “Protect Wild Utah.”

Trump tours welfare square bishop storehouse

Trump was greeted by leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Welfare Square Bishop Storehouse. Praising the work they do for the poor, Trump said to the leaders how impressed he was by “the way [they] take care of people.”

Elder Henry B. Eyring responded, “we think we have an obligation to look out for people that without our aid would have tragedy.”

President Trump was then given a short tour of the facility where the LDS Church showed him their food services.

Trump announces the shrinking of bears ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments

On board Air Force One, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters about President Trump’s plans to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. This rollback of national monuments marks an unprecedented move of a president to shrink the national monument designations made by two of his predecessors.

According to Zinke, Bears Ears will be reduced to 220,000 acres from the 1.5 million acres it is currently. Grand Staircase-Escalante will be decreased to half its size: 1 million acres from the 2 million acres it is now.

Claiming that “no one loves public land more than I do,” Zinke continued on to say that he is the steadfast believer in public lands for public use, but “when a monument is used to prevent rather than protect, the president is right to take action.”

Zinke states that the whole Utah congressional delegation, as well as the governor and commissioner who represent the Navajo districts, supports President Trump’s decision to shrink the national monuments.

The goal of shrinking the national monuments is to increase the use of the area for public access to roads, grazing, and active management for things like conservation, removing junipers, hunting, fishing, recreation, according to Zinke.

Apparently, 150 monuments were looked at for this action, 27 were more closely reviewed, and a handful are being changed, the two biggest of which are in Utah.

At Utah State Capitol, Trump delivered a speech publicly announcing the changes that will take place. After mentioning once again the “massive tax cuts” he promised to deliver as a “great big, beautiful Christmas present” to the American people, and thanking the people of Utah for their generous hospitality, Trump stated that he believes that those in Utah know best “how to care for [their] land,” and that the land in Utah should no longer be controlled “by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington.”

President Trump attributes his decision on the monuments in Utah as an effort to take back the land from federal overreach through the Antiquities Act. “Public lands will be once again for public use,” Trump said before signing the presidential proclamations modifying the Bears Ears and Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in front of the cheering crowd.

At the end, one person chanted “four more years!” to applause from the crowd. Another yelled, “we love you!”

Yeji is covering the White House.

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