Donald Trump Jr. and Madison Cawthorn are coming to Utah this summer. Here’s why.

In June, the Utah Liberty Festival will also host Trump administration official Kash Patel and state Rep. Phil Lyman.

(John Raoux | AP) Donald Trump Jr. is the top-billed speaker at the right-wing Utah Liberty Festival, scheduled for June 17 and 18 in West Valley City.

Donald Trump Jr. is the scheduled headliner at an event in Salt Lake City just before the June primary election. The eldest son of former President Donald Trump is the top-billed guest at the Utah Liberty Festival, scheduled for June 17 and 18 in West Valley City.

Other right-wing celebrities slated to attend the event include Rep. Madison Cawthorn and former Trump administration official Kash Patel.

Trump Jr., executive vice president of The Trump Organization, has been one of the most high-profile supporters of his father and was active in both of his father’s presidential campaigns.

He is no stranger to Utah, making several trips west in recent years. He campaigned for 4th District Republican Burgess Owens in 2020 and appeared at a fundraiser for his father’s first presidential campaign in September 2016.

Former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, who has forged a friendship with Trump Jr. in recent years, is thrilled he is coming back to Utah.

“I welcomed him and his daughter to join me on the dais in the House in Feb ’16. It was the start of a great friendship. The Trump family loves the people of Utah, and we love them!” Hughes said in a text message.

A cache of text messages from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows published by CNN shows Trump Jr. proposing ways to overturn his father’s loss to Joe Biden. On Nov. 5, Trump Jr. texted Meadows, “We have multiple paths. We control them all.”

The messages also reveal that Trump Jr. was frantically texting Meadows as rioters breached the U.S. Capitol on January 6, encouraging the chief of staff to have his father condemn the attack.

Trump Jr. will be in Utah fewer than a dozen days before the June 28 primary. It is unclear whether that could help boost GOP candidates since ballots will have already been mailed to voters.

(Chris Seward | AP) U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., speaks to the crowd before former President Donald Trump takes the stage at a rally Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Selma, N.C.

Scheduled to join Trump Jr. on the stage is North Carolina freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn, one of the youngest members ever elected to the U.S. House.

Cawthorn has been the center of several controversies in recent years. He claimed an auto accident that left him partially paralyzed prevented him from attending the U.S. Naval Academy, but his application was rejected before the crash, the Washington Post reported. Several women have accused Cawthorn of sexual misconduct while he attended Patrick Henry College. More than 150 Patrick Henry alumni signed a letter opposing his candidacy in 2020, alleging his time there was “marked by gross misconduct” toward women. Cawthorn dropped out of Patrick Henry after one semester.

Cawthorn caused outrage recently, accusing his Republican colleagues in Washington of engaging in cocaine-fueled orgies. Racy photos of him wearing women’s lingerie during what appears to be a party surfaced last week, Politico reported. Earlier this week, Cawthorn was caught trying to bring a loaded gun through security at a Charlotte airport, according to ABC News.

Another top guest is Kash Patel, who served as chief of staff to acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller during the Trump administration. He was also a top aide to former Republican Rep. Devin Nunes and helped discredit reports of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Another guest is Dr. Bryan Ardis. He is the central figure in a faux documentary circulating in conspiracy communities that claims the coronavirus pandemic results from cobra venom being put into the water supply to sicken people and imbue them with Satanic DNA. Ardis, who claims to have uncovered the plan, alleges monoclonal antibodies could end the pandemic and blames the plot on Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Pope.

British anti-vaccine activist Andrew Wakefield, who authored a discredited study linking the MMR vaccine to autism, is also scheduled to appear.

Utah lawmaker Rep. Phil Lyman is also on the list of speakers.

Many of the same people behind last year’s conspiracy-theory-driven Western Conservative Action Network conference in Salt Lake City are helping to organize the June festival. Representatives for the event were unavailable for comment.

Editor’s note • This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.