The Rotting Tooth | Private Eye | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Private Eye

The Rotting Tooth

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I don't like to have my picture taken, so I have only a few photos taken of me with celebrities, politicians or the rich and famous. I just don't photograph well, so I prefer not to be seen next to someone who would regret having me in the frame with them. Somewhere, I've got photos of myself with Jerry Jeff Walker and Rosanne Cash, but that's about it on the celebrity front. The rich and famous know that I've nothing to offer, so they astutely avoid me anyway. No photographs there at all.

I do have a photo with Jon Huntsman Jr., in which he looks great, of course—always with a perfect smile and not a hair out of place. But when I look at it, I only see me, the disheveled fat slug. I tolerate that photo because now I can actually prove that I'm just one handshake away from Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and probably every other world leader of note over the past couple of decades. As a U.S. ambassador to both Russia and China (has anyone ever done that?) at such a pivotal time in American history, it's a certainty that Huntsman will have a book release in his future. He's also met Donald Trump. As some victims of Trump's alleged sexual abuse also allege, Trump was always a germophobe, even before COVID-19 spread to every American family except his own, so I can't be sure he and Huntsman ever shook hands. I can't therefore connect my hand to Trump's, thank goodness. One less thing in my life to be ashamed about.

A few years ago, I was minding my own business at Gallivan Plaza during an event when who should I bump into but Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. We only knew each other by name. He wanted a photo with me. I don't know why he did. And I don't remember why I didn't beg off. Maybe I had a skinny shirt on that day, but I do recall thinking, "What's this? He thinks I'm a celebrity?" We were barely past the opening pleasantries when up popped the camera phones and history was made: John Saltas and Sean Reyes united in holy digital pixels for time and all eternity.

I was reminded of that photo op today when I saw pictures of Reyes at the most recent Trump COVID-19 superspreader rally in Nevada. I was more than reminded, actually, because he's wearing the exact same look on his face as he wore in his photograph with me—one of astute, loyal, loving and absolute adoration. Ahh, shucks, I never knew he cared. You can see his glow for Trump, his "pick me, pick me" pet-adoption puppy eyes, and that's the very look I thought he reserved for me. I was flattered but now not flattered, because I like guys who don't two-time on me. You want Trump, Sean? Take him. I'm out.

Next to Reyes is Rick Harrison, the pawn-shop guy from the TV program Pawn Stars. I've haven't watched the program since the old man died and Rick Jr. and Chumlee got skinny (basically humiliating me), but it's Las Vegas, where of course a hustler like Harrison would back a hustler like Trump. It appears Reyes and Harrison have front row seats, along with a battery of bald men—one who looks to be an MMA fighter, another who might be a graveyard-shift pit boss at Four Queens and other sundry C-list celebrities. Honestly, in the town that Sinatra built, the best you can do is Rick Harrison in the front row? Really? That should tell you plenty about both Reyes and Trump if you think about it.

On the bottom right of the image is a chyron displaying the number of American COVID-19 deaths at that time: 195,755. The image itself thus becomes a middle finger to all Americans who take the science of the disease seriously and have taken every uncomfortable precaution possible since March—not a single person among the two dozen or so faces framed is wearing a mask. That's how I'm able to tell how Reyes feels about Trump. I can see his loving smile. It was reported that some people did wear masks to the rally. That will not be enough to sway those Vegas bookies, though, in pulling this betting event off the table. It's a prohibitive bet that the crowd there presents a clear and present danger to the rest of us.

I question why we would let Reyes back into Utah at all. He could give a rat about slowing the spread of COVID and his message to Utahns is that he is above making sacrifices. In the court of public perception and aerosol coronavirus spread, what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas. Reyes made a buffoon of himself. His recklessness makes him more likely than a coffee-shop barista to sicken someone. He should pay for that. He should also pay for knowingly attending an event that was counter to the health policies of Nevada. Some law and order attorney general he is.

Reyes wants a job in the Trump administration. Since nitwits like Larry Kudlow, Betsy DeVos and Peter Navarro surround Trump, it's hard to argue that Reyes is not qualified for a Trump administration position. Qualifications don't matter with Trump—shameless loyalty does. Reyes has that by the bushel. We know because he wore his electric blue suit to the pep rally. He sticks out like the only good tooth among a pile of rotting incisors. For his own gain, he was willing to sicken himself and his fellow Utahns. If that isn't also rotten, I don't know what is.

Vote Greg Skordas for Utah Attorney General.

Send comments to john@cityweekly.net