Before his speech at the state capitol today, President Donald Trump made a brief pit stop at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Welfare Square. He was given a tour of the flagship humanitarian center and also chatted with a few top church leaders.
Trips like this are business as usual for the LDS Church. Typically a meeting with a sitting president revolves around either the church’s genealogy work or it’s humanitarian efforts. This go around Trump was given a tour of a bishops storehouse, a type of food pantry, and a bakery at Welfare Square.
Seated on couches with Sen. Orrin Hatch and an some church leaders, Trump offered some some praise for his Mormon hosts.
“This is very exciting for me, I know so many people that are in your church," Trump said. "The latter-day saints, the job you’ve done is beyond anything you can think of. In 180 countries, taking care of people the way you take care of people and the respect that you have all over the world.”
The most senior church official present was Henry Eyring, first counselor to church President Thomas Monson who has been missing these types of appearances due to health.
Trump is the least popular Republican president among Mormons in decades. He’s at just over 50 percent approval rating statewide. Compare that to the 60 percent of the state population that’s Mormon and there’s clearly some disconnect.
Although, this visit had less to do with politics and more to do with displaying the resources and reach of a global church, something Mormon leaders are very comfortable with.