As President Joe Biden arrives to Salt Lake City on Wednesday, two notable Utahns will be absent: Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney.

Romney spokesperson Arielle Mueller told the Deseret News Romney “has no plans to meet with President Biden” during his visit to Utah. Lee spokesperson Jordan Roberts concurred, noting Lee “will not be attending Biden’s speech Thursday.”

The Senate is in its August recess until Sept. 5, providing members with a “state work period.”

Utah’s senators have in the past welcomed sitting presidents as they visit the state. In 2017, when former President Donald Trump announced reductions to national monuments at the Utah State Capitol, he was joined onstage by Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, both of whom traveled with him from Washington, D.C., on Air Force One. When former President Barack Obama visited Utah in 2015, Sens. Hatch and Lee greeted him on the tarmac at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden. And in 2006, when former President George W. Bush addressed the American Legion National Convention, he was joined at the Salt Palace by Sens. Hatch and Bob Bennett.

Biden arrives in Arizona for first stop on Western trip
Biden to arrive in Utah Wednesday, deliver speech Thursday

Utah is the president’s final stop during a three-state swing in the western U.S. He arrived to Arizona on Monday afternoon and gave a speech near Grand Canyon National Park on Tuesday afternoon, announcing a new national monument.

Biden will arrive to Salt Lake City Wednesday afternoon. He is scheduled to deliver a speech at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Thursday morning, where he will discuss the PACT Act, former Utah Senate Democratic leader Scott Howell confirmed. After the speech, the President is expected to participate in “some activities with veterans and with the public at large,” Howell said.

Biden will travel to Park City for an invite-only campaign fundraiser Thursday afternoon. He will return to Washington after the fundraiser.

Howell, who led the Utah for Biden campaign in 2020, said he hopes to see Biden speak “from the heart and the head” during his visit to Salt Lake City.

“He’s got to be full of energy and enthusiasm,” Howell said. “I want Utahns to see the real Joe Biden that I’ve known and come to appreciate over the years.”

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Howell pointed to Biden’s accomplishments on decreasing joblessness, lowering prescription costs and promoting clean energy as things the president should highlight.

Though Lee and Romney said they don’t plan to see the president during his visit to Utah, the two senators released statements this week criticizing Biden’s decision to designate a new national monument near the Grand Canyon on Tuesday. Lee called it “nothing short of a blatant misuse of the Antiquities Act” and both senators believed it would restrict access to important natural resources.