Proposal to name highway for Trump faces opposition in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A proposal to name a Utah highway after President Donald Trump is getting pushback from state Democrats, including one who said Tuesday that he would suggest naming a ramp for porn star Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
State Sen. Jim Dabakis said he’s trying to show lawmakers that many people would be offended by the idea of honoring Trump for his contentious decision to shrink two national monuments in Utah.
The president’s move received support from state Republican leaders who want the land open for potential oil, gas and coal use but angered environmentalists, outdoor enthusiasts and Native Americans. Several groups, including outdoor retailer Patagonia, are suing over the decision, calling it the largest elimination of protected land in American history.
“I just want the Legislature to understand the level of disrespect that a lot of citizens are feeling by this notion of awarding him this most special byway in the United States,” Dabakis said.
Now named the National Parks Highway, it overlaps several roads as it connects a series of iconic national parks such as Zion, Arches and Bryce Canyon.
If the idea becomes law, Utah would spend $124,000 on signs for Donald J. Trump National Parks Highway. It’s been approved by a committee of lawmakers and is now paused in the House, where another Democrat is suggesting replacing Trump’s name with recently deceased Utah billionaire and philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr.
Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said that while he wanted the monuments scaled back, naming the highway for Trump might be premature.
“Typically, at least in Utah, we wait until people have left office and reward them for the work they’ve done, or sometimes even after they pass away,” he said.
Republican supporters argue Trump deserves the honor for downsizing the sprawling Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in December. Former President Barack Obama designated Bears Ears before he left office in a series of expansions of monuments nationwide.
Rep. Mike Noel, who is sponsoring the measure, has said the Utah monuments wrongly limited how the land can be used and ignored the wishes of people who live near them. He says Trump’s decision shows he cares about states’ rights. Noel didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday.
Elsewhere, lawmakers in New York have considered renaming a state park named for Trump on land he donated after plans for a golf course fell through.