As Utahns celebrated Pioneer Day on July 24, President Donald Trump issued a statement praising the state's religious founders for their "ingenuity, industry, and unwavering commitment to faith." In addition to mentioning Brigham Young and the persecution and hardships the pioneers faced, President Trump focused on the pioneer's "incredible leap of faith into the unknown:"
Melania and I send our best wishes to all those celebrating Pioneer Day. On this day in 1847, Brigham Young and the first group of Latter-day Saint pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley to begin building a new home for their families. Fleeing persecution, these families undertook a difficult journey spanning more than a thousand miles from Illinois to the Utah territory. In the years that followed, nearly 70,000 men, women, and children charted similar paths across windswept plains and rugged mountains in search of religious freedom and a better way of life.
Our Nation honors the ingenuity, industry, and unwavering commitment to faith of all those who endured frontier hardships. These pioneers worked tirelessly to transform the arid desert landscape into a blossoming new home where their families could live in peace and prosperity. The legacy they helped build across the American West lives on through hundreds of cities and towns that continue to thrive in the 21st century. Today, we remember the extraordinary pioneers who uprooted their lives and undertook an incredible leap of faith into the unknown. Their stories and accomplishments are lasting reminders of the importance of religious freedom and the enduring strength and spirit of the American people.
At the Days of '47 celebration events, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also praised Utahns and their pioneer settlers, saying, “Utah also understands that freedom of religion is a cornerstone of American exceptionalism."