I should have seen the trouble coming when the only media request form I could find was on an old campaign website, with nothing else turning up over a two-and-a-half hour search.
Nonetheless, I sent an email there, and no reply came.
I was among other reporters who were given the cold shoulder by the Donald Trump presidential administration for his brief visit to Utah, where he rescinded most of two national monuments.
Alexa Dubois of Salt Lake protests at the Utah state capitol as President Donald Trump arrives. (Rhett Wilkinson)
A member of the Secret Service was at the northwest corner of the Utah capitol, as identified by Salt Lake City police, who directed me to that side of the building from the opposite side but then told me I needed to get off the side of the road closest to the building. So then I found myself talking across the street at the individual to whom the officer had gestured. But she then said that press needed to be there by 11 a.m. That differed from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance’s report that 12:30 p.m. was the time. I said that to the Secret Service.
Only then did she say that I would need to go all the way around to the other side of the capitol, seeming to be both an acknowledgement that she was dishonest about the 11 a.m. time (Trump didn’t even start speaking until perhaps 12:50 p.m.) and that she wanted me to go away. But then and only then, upon getting to that side before 12:30, where these officers said nothing about a needed time of arrival, was I told no.
Another reporter was there, too. And guess what? He, too, said that he was told to go to the west side of the capitol, only there to be told that he needed to go clear to the opposite side.
And we both write for non-mainstream media. This is startling given that Trump has embraced mainstream media, letting outlets into White House press briefings who have never been there before. There’s also his routine blasting of mainstream media and even being so critical that he made… ahem… mainstream the usage of a phrase by some about mainstream media stories.
Or should this be frightening?
We should all agree (in a non-fake quote of Trump), “sad!”
Mormon and non-Mormon, men and women, the able and disabled and white and non-white all stood up to Trump at least two hours and 15 minutes before he even spoke, amid snowy weather.
It happened after 5,000 rallied at the same place two days earlier.
Gerald Lazar, a psychiatrist in Salt Lake, held up a sign that said “If anything it’s fake, it’s you!” He said that Trump lies daily.
“Sometimes people make the distinction between lying and bullshit; people lie when they know the truth. Well, I don’t think he really knows that the truth is… He makes it up as he goes along because he doesn’t know,” Lazar said. “He’s not smart enough to keep up with the news. And what he listens to isn’t news; it’s fake news.”
Rachel Taylor of Salt Lake said it was “awesome” to be at the rally ‘because Trump respects nothing and nobody except for him, what benefits him, and we’ve got to take a stand,” she said.
Why was she there?
“It’s public lands, it’s Orrin Hatch, it’s everything,” she said.
“We need to be heard, that Hatch isn’t representing us,” she then said. “Utah isn’t getting represented; there are so many of us who do not feel the same way that he (does).”
Regina Anderson of Tooele spoke of Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop, who led in the public-land fight before Trump’s executive action.
“I want them to go down with (Trump),” she said. “(Bishop’s) there trying to get laws changed.”
Speaking to Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative, she said “they make it possible for these things.”
Lazar also said “I was trying to think of an expression that would cover it… thinking of the three r’s of reading, writing and arithmetic… it’s Russia, the rich, rape the country.”
Taylor remarked that Trump is doing “anything to keep Mitt Romney out of there” after being asked about Trump using the event to help Hatch be re-elected. Three-quarters of Utahns do not want him to run again.
“It’s time for him to go,” Taylor said. “We need to be heard; that’s why we are all here.”
Anderson said “it’s worth it” when asked about making a relatively long drive from Tooele. Of the size of the crowd, she said “it’s hard to see them all.”
Of Hatch, “he just doesn’t care,” Anderson said. “Every single person in Utah could be right here and I still don’t think he would care.”
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