Last week, billionaire businessmen Jon Huntsman Sr. and Donald Trump met on Trump Force One. An eavesdropping mole inside the Trump organization leaked a transcript of the conversation:
Trump: Jon, great to see you.
Huntsman: Thanks for inviting me, Don. Magnificent airplane.
T: Do you have one?
H: Actually, I do. A Gulfstream jet. Most of the time I let my church use it to help spread the good news with a bit more tailwind.
T: Let’s cut the small talk, Jon. I went to Wharton. I’m like really smart. I’m worth $10 billion. And yet, I still can’t figure out this Utah puzzle. Can you help me win the state? Didn’t you go to Brigham Young University?
H: Actually, I went to Wharton. I graduated about a decade before you, Don. The school’s main building is named Huntsman Hall, despite my protests.
T: Oh well, you’re a smart guy then, but they should have named the main building after me.
H: Don, have you given to our alma mater?
T: Enough of this nonsense. Tell me, how can I win Utah? The state is a hornet's nest.
H: You mean, a Beehive. It’s called the Beehive State.
T: Sure, sure. Beehive.
H: Donald, I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t know how precisely you can win your election. But I can tell you some tips about how to achieve peace in your life and beyond.
T: What? Why do I need that? My hair is the only piece I need.
H: I understand. But maybe my advice can help you a bit with Utah voters.
T: OK fine, what do I have to do?
H: First, you have to keep the Ten Commandments. No more lying and no adultery.
T: Done. Easy. I’m over that.
H: Good to hear.
T: So, what else do I, um, lack?
H: Sell what you have and give it to those in need.
T: Listen, I already told Senators McCain and Portman that no amount of money will save their campaigns. They’re low energy. Sad. I’m not giving them money no matter how much they claim they “need.”
H: No, no Donald. I meant you must give your time and treasure to help people who are not as financially fortunate as you.
H: Well, for Utahns and Latter-day Saints — and, most importantly, for Divine Providence — it's an essential virtue to give to others, to have charity.
T: You’re a Latter-day Saint, right Jon?
T: I read that Forbes article last month. They had you listed as the second “most generous philanthropist” among the Forbes 400. Yuge. It mentioned that you've given away 160 percent of your current net worth. Wow, that's a lot of cash to just give away! Maybe you aren’t that smart after all.
H: It’s part of striving to follow my faith. University of Pennsylvania, our alma mater, put out a study discussing Mormon volunteerism. And, in addition to all the extensive church-related volunteering and charitable giving, Mormons still find time to serve non-LDS charities at rates equal to average Americans.
T: So there must be a lot of money in the Beehive State.
H: You mean honey?
T: OK, you give to your church, your alma mater, the Huntsman Cancer Institute. What else?
H: Well, I give to myriad causes: YMCA, the St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen, Utah State University. After the devastating 1988 earthquake in Armenia, however, my heart really empathized with the people there. Over time, I ended up donating some $53 million to help rebuild the country. Of course, I’m not the only one who gives in this state. For every $1,000 earned, Utahns donate $65.60 to charitable causes — that's the highest rate in the U.S.
T: So you’re saying I need to give to get votes.
H: I guess that’s part of what I’m saying. But giving, I've found, is its own reward.
T: Well, I’ll admit I haven’t always been the most charitable guy, and I’m certainly no moral saint. But, believe it or not, I love America, and I’m giving a lot running for president. In fact, I’ve put plenty of my own cash into this campaign, and I really do want to make America great again.
H: See, now you’re getting it. That’s the kind of message that might resonate in Utah. They’d appreciate that kind of candor and patriotic impulse to serve your country.
T: Wait, I hear something. Is that your phone ringing, Jon?
H: Oh, yes. Please excuse me a moment.
*Mr. Huntsman answers his phone, pauses, and listens intently.*
H: Donald, I have to take this one. It’s Secretary Clinton. She’s asking me about ethical leadership. This might take a while.
Hal Boyd is opinion editor of the Deseret News.