SALT LAKE CITY — Apparently Utah is too high.
Two sites in Utah were among the four finalists to host the Group of Seven summit next June that President Donald Trump initially decided to host at his Doral golf resort in Florida. The president abruptly reversed course after drawing heavy criticism from Democrats and Republicans over the weekend.
Though the White House didn’t name the Utah locations, two luxury resorts in the Park City area — Montage Deer Valley and the Stein Eriksen Lodge — were likely candidates.
“We had one site that we looked at, I won’t name what site it was or what state it was in, but the altitude could have made people sick and oxygen tanks would have been brought in.” — White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham on “Fox and Friends” last Friday
State government officials said Monday they were not aware of or involved in assessing any Utah sites.
The Trump administration sent an advance team to 10 locations in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said last week. The list was narrowed to four finalists — two in Utah, one in Hawaii and Trump’s resort in Florida — that a senior advance team visited.
Doral, he said, was “far and away” the best physical facility to host the G-7 meeting, which brings leaders together from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Officials apparently feared coming to Utah might make some people sick.
“We had one site that we looked at, I won’t name what site it was or what state it was in, but the altitude could have made people sick and oxygen tanks would have been brought in,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told “Fox and Friends” last Friday.
The program’s hosts guessed Colorado, but Grisham said they were wrong.
That left Utah as the only high-altitude state on the list. Deer Valley is 6,570 feet above sea level at the base. The summit reaches 9,570 feet.
“Based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020,” Trump tweeted.
Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump was surprised at the level of pushback.
“We’ll have to find someplace else, and my guess is we’ll find someplace else that the media won’t like for another reason,” he said.
Criteria for holding the event include accommodations, on-site ballrooms, meeting rooms, photo ops, support hotels, proximity to cities and airports, helicopter landing zones and hospitals.
In August, Salt Lake City hosted the United Nations Civil Society Conference, the first time it was held outside of U.N. headquarters in New York. Salt Lake City also put on Winter Olympics in 2002. The 2020 vice presidential debate will be held at the University of Utah.