Situational awareness – June 20, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. 

Curtis pushes back against Trump’s family separation policy. Utah lawmakers donate to their colleagues in primary elections. The uproar over separating immigrant families continues to grow.



  • 2 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 6 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 139 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 222 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 867 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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Family separation

Rep. John Curtis told President Trump and other administration officials that “Utah is all about families” during a meeting about possible solutions to the family separation situation at the southern border [Utah Policy].

Sen. Orrin Hatch authored a letter asking the administration to halt the separation of migrant children from their families until Congress can find a solution [Utah Policy].

Primary donations

Republican lawmakers are donating to their colleagues who are fighting off an intra-party challenge in next week’s primary elections [Utah Policy].

Campaign cash

Mitt Romney has raised nearly 14-times as much campaign money as his GOP primary challenger Mike Kennedy [Utah Policy].


  • Rep. Chris Stewart suggests using ankle monitors on families that enter the U.S. illegally could prevent children from being separated from their parents [KSL].
  • The Salt Lake County Council won’t override Mayor Ben McAdams’ veto of a controversial housing development in Herriman [Deseret News].
  • Salt Lake County has enough support from cities to implement a $58 million sales tax hike to fund transportation projects [Deseret News].
  • Attorney General Sean Reyes is hopeful a federal judge will decide soon how to proceed with the legal challenges to President Trump’s reductions of two national monuments [Deseret News].
  • A quirk in the state auto insurance database might put up to 50,000 Utah drivers at risk of getting their cars impounded improperly [Tribune].
  • Emery County officials are cautiously optimistic that a public lands proposal could win approval in Congress [Deseret News].
  • The Utah County Commission approved a study with the aim of bringing county employees salaries up to market values [Daily Herald].


  • Babies forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border have been sent to at least three “tender age” shelters in Texas. Medical providers who have visited the shelters describe rooms full of crying children in crisis [Associated Press].
  • The cost of housing immigrant children separated from their parents is $775 per person, per night. That’s more than it would cost to keep the children with their parents in detention centers [NBC News].
  • President Trump meets with House Republicans to urge them to fix the immigration system but offers no strong guidance on how to do that [Washington Post].
  • Jaw dropping! Former Trump campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski dismissed the story of a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was reportedly separated from her mother at the border by saying “Womp, womp” [CNN].
  • Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled by protesters at a Mexican restaurant on Tuesday evening. The protesters were applauded by diners [Washington Post].
  • A fundraising campaign on Facebook to help reunite immigrant children with their parents has topped $6 million. At one point, the effort was raising more than $4,000 per minute [ABC News].
  • House Republicans are pushing a plan to balance the federal budget in nine years by making large cuts to entitlement programs like Medicaid and Medicare [Washington Post].
  • President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on nearly every Chinese product sent stock markets tumbling on Tuesday [New York Times].
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is not happy with President Donald Trump’s trade war with China [Bloomberg].
  • The number of Americans applying for Social Security disability benefits has dropped dramatically, which is seen as evidence of a stronger economy [New York Times].
  • The U.S. is leaving the U.N. Human Rights Council over perceived anti-Israeli bias [CNN].
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross shorted stock in a Kremlin-linked shipping firm after learning reporters were about to publish a potentially negative story about his involvement with the company [New York Times].
  • Canada becomes the second nation in the world to legalize marijuana [CNN].


  • 1782 – Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States.
  • 1787 – Oliver Ellsworth moves at the Federal Convention to call the government the “United States.”
  • 1840 – Samuel Morse receives the patent for the telegraph.
  • 1863 – West Virginia is admitted as the 35th state.
  • 1963 – Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union and the United States sign an agreement to establish the so-called “red telephone” link between Washington and Moscow.
  • 1972 – An 18 1/2 minute gap appears in the tape recording of the conversations between President Richard Nixon and his advisers regarding the recent arrests of his operatives while breaking into the Watergate complex.