WASHINGTON D.C. — In a brief question-and-answer session with the White House press corps on Wednesday, President Barack Obama revealed he was completely unaware that he had traveled to Utah last week.
The topic arose when a reporter quizzed Obama on his new initiative to train military veterans for jobs in a blossoming solar energy industry—an initiative he announced at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. However, Obama questioned the reporter’s recollection of that announcement.
“You mean Colorado, don’t you? I think I announced that plan in Colorado,” he said, appearing to second-guess himself.
When other reporters confirmed the event in question did, in fact, occur in Utah, Obama expressed some shock.
“Wait, when was I in Utah?” he asked. “I started in Kentucky, then that night I… there were mountains I think,” he said, trailing off as he searched his own memory.
Last week, Obama made his first visit to the Beehive State as president, though his stay only lasted 15 hours. During his brief time there, the commander-in-chief met with an assortment of local leaders, including Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, and several leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—an obscure, regionally-influential religious group in Utah.
But Obama seems to have misremembered his entire trip to the scenic western state.
“I remember two guys came up to me claiming to be the mayor of Salt Lake,” he said. “I thought it was a practical joke or something, since April Fools Day was just the other day. And the whole time I was thinking, ‘Who scheduled this meeting with the Mormon church?’ I couldn’t figure out why they would make them come to Colorado.”
Despite the state being heavily Republican, Utahns seemed mostly enthusiastic about the Democratic president’s visit. In a statement, Herbert expressed gratitude for the opportunity to chat with the president during his visit, adding that it was “an honor to welcome the President of the United States to Utah.”
Regarding Herbert, Obama said, “You know when you meet someone at a party, and you know you’ve talked to that guy like, uh, a dozen times before, but you can’t remember when or where or why, uh, to save your life? Well, that guy was sitting next to me in the car and talking my ear off about public lands. I remember now, though. Jerry Herbert, right? No, Larry… no wait! It is Jerry. Jerry Herbert. He’s the governor of, uh, where did you say I was again?”
Obama later remarked that he still needs to visit “one of the Dakotas,” but he wasn’t sure which one.