President Bush will meet with the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during his fundraising trip to Utah next week.
It will be the president's first meeting with the new leaders announced in February after the death of LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley. Bush last met with the First Presidency in August 2006, when he was here to address the American Legion convention.
The meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 29, according to LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter. That's the day after Bush is set to appear at fundraisers in Salt Lake City and Deer Valley for the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, John McCain.
Those fundraisers are set to begin at noon with a $10,000-a-person lunch at the Grand America Hotel downtown, followed by a $500-a-person afternoon reception at the hotel and later, a $70,100-a-couple early evening reception at the Deer Valley home of Mitt Romney.
Romney, who beat McCain in Utah's Feb. 8 GOP presidential primary before dropping out of the race for the White House in February, is hosting the events with Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a longtime McCain supporter.
The White House has yet to confirm the president's schedule, but it appears the president will be staying overnight. That could be at Romney's vacation home, although during his 2006 visit to Utah, Bush spent the night at the Grand America Hotel.
Bush, whose second term will end in January, has made several trips to Utah while in office, including four years ago to participate in the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City that were led by Romney.
The president, who has remained popular in heavily Republican Utah throughout his administration despite declining approval ratings nationally, also spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Salt Lake City in 2005.
Bush, one of the GOP's best-ever fundraisers, is coming to Utah next week chiefly to raise money for the McCain Victory 2008 fund that shares money with the Republican National Committee as well as some state party organizations.The trip is being seen as a sign that Utah is becoming an important stop on the campaign cash trail, thanks to Romney's unprecedented success in collecting more than $6 million in contributions in the state during his presidential run.
E-mail: [email protected]