Washington • When Air Force One descends into Salt Lake City on Monday morning, planes departing and arriving will be held, causing momentary delays for travelers.
And President Donald Trump’s motorcade — mixed with pending snow showers — will likely cause some headaches for drivers in Utah’s capital city as he zips around to meet with Mormon church leaders and speak at the state Capitol.
Trump, visiting Utah to announce he’ll shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, will be brief — he’s spending less than three hours on the ground — but will consume the state’s focus for the day.
Monday marks Trump’s first visit to the state as president, though no public events are scheduled for residents to see him.
Trump arrives just before 11 a.m. Monday at the Utah Air National Guard Base attached to Salt Lake City International Airport. From there, he heads to Welfare Square to meet with officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and where he’s expected to take a quick tour of the faith’s humanitarian efforts for the needy.
After that, Trump will appear at the Capitol to sign an executive order reportedly removing some 2 million acres from the national monuments created by his Democratic predecessors in southern Utah. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who are traveling with the president from Washington, are expected to speak as well.
Trump departs Salt Lake City at 1:35 p.m.
The Capitol event is open only to invited guests, guaranteeing a friendly crowd excited about the reductions in the monument, as well as pre-credentialed media. A protest also is planned in the area.
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance told supporters in an email and Facebook post that it is planning a protest starting at 10:45 a.m. just across from the Capitol grounds along 300 North, calling Trump’s actions an “egregious assault on America’s public lands” that amounts to “the largest rollback of protected areas in U.S. history. It is also an appalling affront to Native American tribes who sought healing and cross-cultural understanding through protection of their sacred sites and ancestral homelands.”
The group cautioned, “This is a peaceful protest. We do not condone violence or destruction of property.”
Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, founded by Don Peay, one of Trump’s biggest Utah backers, took out a full-page ad in Utah’s metro newspapers Sunday to thank Trump for “hearing the voice of the Utah people, and for protecting our lands, wildlife and heritage of our public lands.”
As with any presidential visit, police are likely to shut down freeways and some roads as Trump and his motorcade move about Salt Lake City. The area around Welfare Square, just west of downtown, and the Capitol are likely to be secured as well.
Trump, who captured 45 percent of Utah’s vote in the election and holds an approval rating hovering around 50 percent in the state now, will spend more time traveling to and from Salt Lake City on Monday than actually on the ground in Utah. He’s expected to return to Washington about 5:15 p.m. Mountain Time.
For additional coverage of President Trump’s visit to Utah: <br> •Trump is coming to Utah to perform dramatic feat Monday: make big national monuments disappear<br>•Social media reacts to President Trump’s visit to Utah and his anticipated monument announcements<br>•Trump, whom the LDS Church’s newspaper once urged to drop out of presidential race, will meet with top Mormon leaders today<br>•For additional coverage of President Trump’s visit to Utah: <br> •Live updates: Utah lawmaker says Trump’s monument actions are ‘just the beginning’