Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welcomed President Donald Trump to the church-owned Welfare Square Monday during the president’s trip to Salt Lake City.
“We’re really proud of you,” President Trump said, according to a release from the LDS Church. “What you do is like nobody else.”
President Trump was met by several members of the LDS Church leadership, including President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the church’s First Presidency; President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Bishop Gérald Caussé, of the church’s Presiding Bishopric and Sister Jean B. Bingham, the general president of the Relief Society.
Trump toured the facility, where resources are prepared to help the needy from many faiths around the world. Joining him on the tour was Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and other White House staff members.
Church leadership members showed Trump both the bishops’ storehouse and Deseret Bakery, and explained the processes behind the LDS Church’s self-reliance and welfare programs.
“We’re here in a place where we have food and materials that we give to the poor,” said Eyring. “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.”
Resources at Welfare Square come from member donations. Most of the people who process the goods are volunteers. The church also owns farms, ranches, orchards and lands that supply the raw materials. Volunteers also assist in harvesting the crops.
While on his tour, Trump invited volunteers to come out and take pictures and shake his hand.
“This is very exciting for me,” Trump said, when speaking about the LDS Church. “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.”
According to the LDS Church, Eyring and Nelson also expressed appreciation to President Trump for his efforts to protect religious freedom. Eyring also gave the president a Christus statue before he departed for the Utah State Capitol.
Trump joins a line of sitting presidents to visit with LDS Church leadership, including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.