I attended Representative John Curtis’ recent Moab town hall where Curtis made deceptive claims to seemingly obfuscate his support and enablement of Donald Trump’s damage to public lands, abuse of immigrant children, etc. Analysis of Curtis’ claims demonstrates his apparent lack of character and his dishonesty. For example, Curtis claimed that a bill he introduced would increase law enforcement on federal lands in the former Bears Ears National Monument by funding at least 10 (not 20 as in your article) law enforcement positions. Curtis said that this was an improvement over President Obama’s Bears Ears proclamation, which included no funding for law enforcement. Not only did Curtis fail to state the constitutionally-obvious point that the power of the purse is within the Legislative Branch (and hence would be outside the scope of a presidential proclamation using the Antiquities Act), but he also did not say that his bill mandates that federal monies pay for local, state or tribal law enforcement personnel. Because it is unlikely that any local law enforcement agency would legitimately enforce federal land management laws, his bill would effectively reduce protection of these lands that belong to all Americans.
Curtis stated that Americans are divided. I believe that lack of good faith by elected officials like Curtis is at the root of much of the division in this country. Curtis implied that people opposed his bill on the sole basis that it was not President Obama’s 2016 proclamation, and not on provisions in his bill, which among other concerns effectively cedes control of these federal lands to local officials and aims to legitimatize Trump’s proclamation that illegally de-authorized Bears Ears National Monument.
Curtis further demonstrated his lack of good faith by saying that his primary “tool” as a member of Congress was legislation (which, of course, excludes oversight of the Executive Branch; a fundamental Congressional responsibility). Yet, the other “action” as a member of Congress that he seemed to boast about was telling Trump that Utah supports families as his response to the immigration crisis that the Trump administration created by separating children from their parents. My understanding of Curtis’ track record is that he sponsors legislation when he wants to endear himself to Trump and then makes false/misleading statements about this legislation, but only manages to make a weak generic statement in situations such as when Trump’s policies cause great harm to immigrant children and families.