Situational awareness – June 21, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. 

Utahns oppose Trump’s border wall proposal. Hughes has a potential conflict of interest on the inland port. Trump caves and reverses his administration’s family separation policy.

It’s the first day of Summer! The Summer solstice takes place today, marking the longest day of the year.


  • In-person early primary voting ends tomorrow (6/22/2018)
  • 5 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 138 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 221 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 866 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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Border wall opposition

A new survey finds that more than half of Utahns oppose President Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the US-Mexico border [Utah Policy].

Herrod speaks

GOP Congressional candidate Chris Herrod says he’s supportive of President Trump’s decision to end the separation of immigrant families trying to enter the US, but he still thinks the US needs to take a harder line on immigration [Utah Policy].

Download the podcast of our full conversation with Herrod wherein he discusses immigration, foreign trade, economy and the national debt [Utah Policy].


  • House Speaker Greg Hughes has property holdings within five miles of the new inland port, which should disqualify him from serving on the board, which he appointed himself to [Tribune].
  • Utah’s members of Congress praise President Trump’s decision to end the separation of families on the southern US border [Deseret News, Associated Press].
  • Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox tweets that the Trump administration’s policy separating children from their families made him “want to punch someone” [KSL].
  • Utah lawmakers will once again consider “red flag” laws to help prevent gun violence [Deseret News, Fox 13].
  • The Utah Safe Schools Commission releases a series of recommendations to improve school safety [Deseret News].
  • Turnout for Tuesday’s primary election is already higher than usual based on the number of vote-by-mail ballots that have been returned to county clerks [Deseret News].
  • A Democratic candidate who was kicked off the ballot in San Juan County has filed suit saying the decision was politically and racially motivated [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Backers of the proposed ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana are asking a judge to toss a lawsuit seeking to keep the proposal off the November ballot [Fox 13].
  • The Utah Transit Authority says a newly passed sales tax hike will improve public transit service [Tribune].
  • Utah’s minority populations are growing faster than other groups, adding more than 130,000 people over the last seven years [Tribune].


  • Trump caves. President Trump signs an executive order saying families would no longer be separated at the US-Mexico border [New York Times].
  • GOP Senator James Lankford warns Russian trolls and bots are at it again, trying to sow discord using the controversy around immigration and family separation at the border [ABC News].
  • The Trump administration changed its story about separating children from immigrant families at the border no fewer than 14 times before ending the policy [Washington Post].
  • Some young immigrants at a detention center in Virginia are alleging abuse, claiming they were beaten while handcuffed and held in solitary confinement for long periods of time [Associated Press].
  • Some GOP lawmakers say President Trump’s executive order to halt the policy of separating families at the border warn it may not apply to every family trying to enter the U.S. [Reuters].
  • President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin plan to meet in mid-July according to diplomatic sources [CNN].
  • The White House will propose merging the Labor and Education departments into a single agency as part of their plan to overhaul the federal government [Washington Post].

  • President Trump holds a campaign rally in Minnesota where he attacked familiar opponents like the media and Democrats, but barely mentioned his reversal on his administration’s family separation policy [Washington Post].
  • Sources close to Donald Trump Jr. say he regrets taking the now-infamous meeting with Russians at Trump Tower during the 2016 election because it “caused a situation that wasted a lot of time and money” [GQ].
  • Embattled EPA head Scott Pruitt has spent $4.6 million on security since he took office, including $1,500 on “tactical pants” [The Intercept].
  • The Senate rejects a proposal from the Trump administration to claw back $15 billion in already approved government spending [The Hill].
  • Bizarre story. Rudy Giuliani is throwing his support behind a House candidate in Louisiana who is trying to take out an incumbent Republican member of Congress because his new girlfriend is working for the Republican challenger in the race. That support is causing headaches for the White House [Politico].
  • Europe will enact retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products on Friday [CNN Money].
  • Top Republican strategist Steve Schmidt renounces his membership in the GOP and urges Americans to vote for Democrats to stop Donald Trump because he says Congress refuses to act as a check on Trump [Washington Post].
  • Voters are more enthusiastic about this year’s midterm elections than any recent election. They’re mostly motivated by which party ends up controlling Congress [The Hill].
  • The white population in the U.S. shrank for the first time between 2015 and 2016 according to new figures from the Census Bureau [The Hill].
  • The organizer of last year’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia has applied for a permit to hold a “white civil rights rally” in Washington, D.C. [CNN].
  • Home prices in the U.S. are the least affordable in almost a decade [Bloomberg].
  • A record 47 million people are expected to travel over the 4th of July holiday [Yahoo].
  • A new study says plastic trash will overwhelm the world during the next decade after China’s decision to stop importing nearly half of the world’s garbage next year [Washington Post].


  • 1788 – New Hampshire ratifies the Constitution and is admitted as the ninth state.
  • 1898 – The United States captures Guam from Spain.
  • 1900 – Boxer Rebellion. China formally declares war on the United States, Britain, Germany, France, and Japan, as an edict issued by the Empress Dowager Cixi.
  • 1915 – The Supreme Court hands down its decision in Guinn v. United States, striking down Oklahoma grandfather clause legislation which had the effect of denying the right to vote to blacks.
  • 1945 – Japanese troops on Okinawa surrendered to U.S. forces.
  • 1982 – John Hinkley is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.
  • 1989 – The Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. Johnson that American flag-burning was a form of political protest protected by the First Amendment.