LDS Church leaders welcome President Trump to Welfare Square

SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump met with key Church leaders Dec. 4 at Welfare Square where they discussed religious liberties and the mission of the Church’s global welfare program.

The U.S. president visited with President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency; President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé; and Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president.

During the closed, late-morning meeting, the Church leaders and President Trump, along with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), discussed religious liberty and the Church’s welfare programs. The president praised the Church’s humanitarian efforts and also recognized President Nelson’s renown as a heart surgeon.

President Eyring told the president that the food and materials found and produced at Welfare Square will help care for those in need, according to a press release on Mormon Newsroom.

“This is simply an example of what we do across the world, the idea being that we think we have an obligation to God to look out for the people who, without our aid, have tragedy in their lives, be it poverty or hunger,” he said.

While visiting the bishop’s storehouse at Welfare Square, President Trump pushed a shopping cart down an aisle, placing produce and other goods into it. He invited volunteers at the Deseret Bakery to shake his hand and snap photos.

“This is very exciting for me,” said President Trump in the Newsroom report. “The job you’ve done is beyond anything you could think of — taking care of people the way you take care of people and the respect that you have all over the world.”

To commemorate the presidential visit, President Eyring presented President Trump with a Christus statue.

Afterward, President Eyring and President Nelson said they also shared Church doctrine with the president during his visit.

President Trump was in Salt Lake City to announce reductions in Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

President Trump now joins a long list of American presidents who have visited Church headquarters, beginning with President Ulysses S. Grant in 1875.

President Grant met with President George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency and reportedly toured Temple Square on Oct. 2, 1875, during his visit to Salt Lake City.

Since that time, presidential visits were made to Church headquarters or properties in Salt Lake City by President Rutherford B. Hayes (1890), President Benjamin Harrison (1891), President Theodore Roosevelt (1903), President William H. Taft (1909 and 1911), President Woodrow Wilson (1919), President Warren G. Harding (1923), President Herbert Hoover (1932), President Harry S. Truman (1945, 1948, 1952), President John F. Kennedy (1963), President Lyndon B. Johnson (1964), President Richard Nixon (1970), President Gerald Ford (1974), President Jimmy Carter (1978), President Ronald Reagan (1982 and 1984), President George H.W. Bush (1991 and 1992), President George W. Bush (2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008), and President Barack Obama (2015).