A crowd inside the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City chanted “Four more years!” as President Donald Trump signed two executive orders on Monday — though it is only the 318th day of his presidency, well short of one year.
The executive orders reverse orders issued by President Barack Obama under the Antiquities Act of 1906, including a lame-duck order to create the Bear Ears national monument in an area that Utah leaders had hoped to protect but without the involvement of the federal government. As the Atlantic noted last December, “Obama has used the law more than any other president, and used it to protect far more acreage than any other president.”
Before signing the orders, Trump spoke about the need to conserve environmentally and culturally important lands — while also attacking the heavy hand of the federal bureaucracy as the blunt instrument of arbitrary land protection.
He then signed the orders, and the crowd broke into the spontaneous cheer, usually reserved for re-election years:
Pres Trump cheered as he signs and displays proclamations modifying the National Monument designations for Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante. Some in the audience chant “four more years.” pic.twitter.com/4kySc8QLKW
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) December 4, 2017
Trump was joined on the dais by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R) and Mike Lee (R), among other Utah officials. Earlier, he met with Mormon leaders. In his speech, he praised the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to cheers.
Majority-Mormon Utah has been tough terrain for Trump, thanks in part to his clashes with local hero Mitt Romney. His political style has been rejected by Mormon politicians, including outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). He drew an independent challenger in the state in the 2016 election, former CIA agent Evan McMullin, who threatened to deny Trump the state’s 6 electoral votes; however, Trump carried the state on Election Day.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.