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White House confirms details of Vice President Pence’s trip to Utah

By Lisa Riley Roche, KSL | Updated - Aug 20th, 2019 @ 5:17pm | Posted - Aug 20th, 2019 @ 12:00pm



SALT LAKE CITY — Vice President Mike Pence is expected to arrive in Salt Lake City on Air Force Two on Wednesday afternoon and will speak the next morning at Merit Medical in South Jordan about a new North American trade deal, the White House confirmed Tuesday.

Pence, who will be arriving from Roswell, New Mexico, is scheduled to tour the disposable medical device manufacturer and then deliver remarks to community leaders and employees there Thursday before returning to Washington, according to the vice president’s office.

No other meetings or events, including political fundraisers, are planned for the vice president in Utah. Pence will be accompanied on the trip by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

In New Mexico, Pence will visit Elite Well Services, an oil and gas services company in Artesia, and talk about President Donald Trump’s proposed trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico as a part of what his office said is an America First Policies series called “USMCA: A Better Deal for American Workers.”

Pence is also scheduled to visit the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, that features grounded 727 aircraft and replicas of border wall fencing. It is one of three such residential anti-terrorist training facilities in the country.

KSL first reported Pence was expected to come to Utah this week to speak on trade, with sources saying the vice president had intended to deliver his pitch for the trade agreement at the Midvale headquarters of Overstock.com, but that plan was changed amid controversial comments by the company’s CEO.

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Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne had made headlines by claiming involvement in the federal government’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, labeling himself as “the notorious ‘missing Chapter 1’ of the Russian investigation.”

Merit Medical Chairman and CEO Fred Lampropoulos told KSL that hosting the administration officials is a “great honor not just for Merit, but for the state of Utah. It’s important.” His company has operations in Mexico and a direct sales force in Canada.

The Republican, who ran for governor in 2004 and was named this year’s “Giant in Our City” by the Salt Lake Chamber, asked, “How often do you get a member of the Cabinet and have a vice president of the United States come to the state?”

Pence, a former governor of Indiana and a personal friend of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, came to the state before the November 2016 presidential election to campaign for Trump, who was struggling to win over voters in the usually reliably Republican state.

Herbert and his wife “are delighted to welcome their dear friend and our vice president, Mike Pence, to Utah,” Herbert’s spokeswoman, Anna Lehnardt, said. “As with his visit to Utah three years ago, when he was then-candidate Pence, the Herberts look forward to showcasing our great state.”

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