Gov. Spencer Cox to join President Biden for public event Thursday

Aug 9, 2023, 5:00 AM | Updated: 7:13 am

Image of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, speaking to reporters about the Disagree Better initiative....

Gov. Spencer Cox speaks to reporters about his newly-released initiative that challenges American governors to find better ways of solving problems. Gov. Cox will be with President Biden at a publice appearance in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023. (Lindsay Aerts/KSL NewsRadio)

(Lindsay Aerts/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — President Joe Biden will come to Utah Wednesday, then deliver public remarks Thursday at Salt Lake’s Veterans Affairs hospital on the one-year signing of the PACT Act.

At that speech Thursday, the President will be joined by Gov. Spencer Cox and likely several — if not all — Democratic lawmakers, KSL NewsRadio has learned.

“The Governor will be at the VA,” Gov. Cox’s Director of Communications, Jennifer Napier-Pearce said via text.

It’s not know what other Republican elected officials might attend.

Utah’s Democrats were sent a link to RSVP to “an event” with the president without a date or time. It said, “You’ve been invited to attend an event. We will provide more information for you, the day before the event.”

Utah’s House Minority Leader Angela Romero said, “All House and Senate Democrats have been invited.”

Longtime Biden surrogate and former Utah State Senator, Scott Howell was asked by the White House to help plan Biden’s visit to the state. He corroborated the VA event and said it will be public.

“Yes, it will be open to the press and there will be questions,” Howell said.

After the VA, President Biden heads to a fundraiser in Park City hosted by Mark Gilbert, the former ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, Howell said. 

Visiting a Red state

Howell said the President’s visit to Utah shows who Joe Biden really is.

“It means the world to every Utahn,” he said. “Forget about your politics and think about the leader of the free world coming to one of the most red states. He’s not afraid to go out to a territory that’s not that friendly.”

Howell cautioned about anyone who might consider protesting.

“People are free to protest, absolutely but we want to respect the office.”

Disagreement over National Monument in Arizona

President Biden is out west for a 3-state sweep and at his stop in Arizona, he designated a new national monument. Biden designated the 917,000-acre Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona.

Gov. Cox almost immediately criticized the decision.

“As I’ve said many times before, massive, landscape-scale monuments like this are a mistake.” Gov. Cox said.

These designations increase visitation without providing any additional resources for law enforcement and infrastructure to protect sensitive areas. They also needlessly restrict access to the critical minerals that are key to cell phones, satellites, U.S. defense systems and so many other American industries. 

Howell defended the President’s designation. 

“I think for the President, it’s good for the climate,” he said. “And those who have claims in mining and ranching, those claims will still be intact for them. It’s just that they can’t expand it out.”

“I’m sure this will be an example where the Governor can disagree better,” Howell joked.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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Gov. Spencer Cox to join President Biden for public event Thursday