White House chief of staff says Trump’s immigration policies are ‘uninformed.’ The president says his plans for a border wall have ‘never changed or evolved.’ The Interior Department asks national parks to stay open if the government shuts down. Democrat Kathie Allen swipes at new senator’s religion.
Happy Thursday. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly said that some of President Donald Trump’s immigration stances were “uninformed.” The United States, he said, will not build a wall across its southern border, and Mexico will not pay for it. Trump responded by defending his policy positions in two tweets, saying “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it.” [WaPost]
Topping the news: The Interior Department is telling national parks to remain open even if Congress is unable to pass a new spending bill by the end of the week. [Trib]
-> Nine of 12 members — including one from Utah — on a federal board that advises the National Park Service resigned after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke refused to meet with them last year. [WaPostviaTrib] [Fox13]
-> Democrat Kathie Allen questioned the religion of new state Sen. Brian Zehnder — her likely opponent in this year’s legislative election — saying she’s “not sure how he reconciles evangelism with science” in his work as a doctor. The comment was quickly met with backlash online. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @ewstephe: “Eric Trump on Fox: ‘My father sees one color, green.’ No one thought to ask the White House physician if the president is colorblind.”
-> From @maggieNYT: “Somehow (insert Trump-related issue here) seems to be overshadowing (insert Trump-related issue here)”
-> From @petridishes: “is it [fake news] awards or fake [news awards]”
In other news: Delta Airlines is negotiating to extend its lease at Salt Lake City International Airport through 2034 — a move that might help finance the airport’s current renovation project. [Trib]
-> The Salt Lake City Council unanimously voted to approve two loans that would reduce homelessness by creating additional affordable housing. [DNews]
-> A Utah County Sheriff’s deputy has been fired after allegations surfaced that he molested children in the 1980s. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley depicts a different kind of rapture for the Religious Right in the Trump era. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly describes the growing conflict in the Utah Republican Party as some are now calling for Vice Chairwoman Joni Crane’s resignation. [Trib]
-> A Department of Energy photographer is seeking whistle-blower protection after being fired for leaking a picture of Rick Perry privately meeting with the head of a major coal company. [NYTimes]
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— Courtney Tanner and Eric Baker