Conn Carroll, communications director for Utah Sen. Mike Lee, sent out word earlier Wednesday that the White House was planning a “surprise” announcement for 4 p.m. regarding the designation of another national monument.

It turns out that Carroll was half-right: the White House announced not one but two new national monuments: Bears Ears in Utah and Gold Butte in Nevada.

Oops …

What’s this about “unwanted and unpopular”? People love national monuments, right? And whatever it is in that photo certainly looks pretty just as is.

While the president took credit for protecting even more land and water, though, the people who actually live in those states weren’t so impressed with the “midnight” declaration — the announcement might have come in the afternoon, but the Obama administration is quickly approaching its own midnight deadline to set the president’s legacy in stone.

Utah’s Rep. Jason Chaffetz said in a statement he was outraged over the designation as well as with the White House’s geography skills.

Chaffetz wrote, in part:

President Obama’s unilateral decision to invoke the Antiquities Act in Utah politicizes a long-simmering conflict. This unfortunate act threatens to further inflame controversies that were near resolution. The midnight move is a slap in the face to the people of Utah, attempting to silence the voices of those who will bear the heavy burden it imposes. Furthermore, the decision is a major break with protocol previously followed by this administration. It does not have the support of the Governor, a single member of the state’s Congressional delegation, nor any local elected officials or state legislators who represent the area.

What’s that? President Obama made a unilateral decision without the support of those representing the people who will be affected, and then took a victory lap? That’s not like him at all.


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