George W. Bush has been to Utah more than any other president.
While president, Bush visited four times. He came in 2002 for the Winter Olympics and then again in 2005 to speak at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention and to meet with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to KSL. He came back in 2006 and later in 2008 before he left the White House.
On the occasion of the 2002 Olympics, Bush met with LDS Church leaders to talk about his family history and the importance of genealogy in the church.
Four years later, Bush returned during the American Legion Convention. His visit in 2008 centered around raising money in both Salt Lake City and Park City. It was on that visit that Bush met with LDS Church leaders again, including church President Thomas S. Monson and first counselor President Henry B. Eyring, who got a tour of Air Force One, KSL reported.
Two years later in 2010, Bush came back to Utah. He spoke at a Costco in Sandy, where he shook hands with locals and signed copies of his book, “Decision Points,” according to the Deseret News.
"Obviously it's a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of us, including myself, to meet a president," said Scott Christensen, general manager of the Sandy Costco warehouse, to the Deseret News.
Bush came back to Utah in 2013, when he spoke at Zions Bank’s 12th annual Trade Business Conference, according to KSL. In a one-hour speech, Bush spoke on women’s issues, democracy and his decision to send troops to Iraq.
The event was closed to the media and the public. But, as one insider told KSL, Bush defended his decision to start the Iraq War.
“It was a necessary thing, to remove an individual who was creating great harm to his own people and the rest of the world,” Kent Bowman said of the speech. “He was not in a position as being the leader of the most powerful country in the world to sit by and watch that negativity and that harm take place in that part of the world.”