During its history, Arizona has seen United States presidents travel to the state for everything from political rallies to funerals.

The 48th state has not always found itself top on the list of places to stop for presidents, making the stops to the Grand Canyon State even more important to Arizona residents.

Here’s a look at The Arizona Republic’s coverage of United States presidents who visited Arizona while serving the highest elected office in the nation and why they came to the state.

A visit to the pre-statehood Arizona by William McKinley

Eleven years before Arizona became the 48th state admitted into the union, President William McKinley visited the Arizona Territory to highlight a revealing jewel in the Southwest.

On May 7, 1901, the president visited a gold mine in Congress, a mining town in Yavapai County, before traveling to Phoenix to see the territorial capital and Native American boarding schools.

“The country has become so large, notwithstanding the splendid traveling facilities, that it takes at least 40 days to reach the outlying possessions of this republic,” read a Republic article detailing President McKinley’s speech to a Phoenix crowd.

“Nor do I forget, when I am standing in this presence, that it was in this territory when I was constrained to go to war with Spain, and made my call for volunteers, that the first patriotic response was made,” added McKinley, who would become the fourth U.S. president to be assassinated, only several months after he visited Arizona.

John F. Kennedy’s last visit to Arizona

On Nov. 17, 1961, President John F. Kennedy made his first and last trip to Arizona as leader of the nation.

Kennedy arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, then without the international moniker, and was met by Arizona Sen. Carl Hayden.

Hayden was honored the same night for serving 50 years as an Arizona senator at a dinner, which Kennedy attended. The president gave a speech honoring Hayden’s legacy.

“America is moving, and Arizona is moving with it,” read part of Kennedy’s speech at Hayden’s anniversary dinner.

A photo acquired by The Republic showed Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon Johnson on each side of the 84-year-old Carl Hayden.

Kennedy stayed at the famous Westward Ho Hotel in downtown Phoenix, according to his presidential diary.

Kennedy left Arizona on Nov. 18. He was assassinated two years later in Dallas.

Richard Nixon visited Phoenix for a rally months before his resignation

President Richard Nixon visited Arizona late into his presidency on May 3, 1974, for a Republican rally ahead of the election later that year.

Nixon’s diary stated he arrived at Sky Harbor Airport at 4 p.m. and was met by Sens. Barry Goldwater and Paul J. Fannin.

The Republican rally was held at Phoenix’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum, now on the Arizona State Fairgrounds.

An original photo used in the Phoenix Gazette showed Nixon waving to the rows of 14,000 people, some holding signs as they cheered on the hopeful presidential-elect.

The president briefly met with the publisher of the then-Phoenix Republic and Gazette, Eugene C. Pulliam, on his birthday, according to Nixon’s diary.

Nixon and first lady Pat Nixon stayed at the Camelback Inn before departing the state for the last time under his administration on May 4.

Nixon resigned as the president three months later on Aug. 9, 1974, after a prolonged fallout from the Watergate scandal.

Gerald Ford traveled to Arizona for a journalism conference

President Gerald Ford was handed the role of president after Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, and traveled to Arizona only three months later.

On Nov. 14, 1974, Ford arrived at Luke Air Force Base in the West Valley to the greetings of Arizona Gov. Jack Williams and Sen. Paul Fannin, among other heavyweight local politicians, according to his diary.

Ford attended a ceremony that honored the first F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft to be delivered to the nation’s Air Force arsenal.

Later that evening, Ford attended the annual convention of the Society of Professional Journalists, in which he was greeted by Eugene C. Pulliam.

Ford would depart Arizona after the event from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Ronald Reagan visited Arizona twice

President Ronald Reagan’s first of two visits to Arizona while in office was to attend a National Rifle Association convention on May 5, 1983, according to his presidential diary.

Reagan also visited Arizona on Oct. 30, 1987, for the funeral service of Nancy Reagan’s mother, Edith Davis, at the St. Thomas The Apostle Catholic Church in central Phoenix.

Reagan and the first lady stayed at the Arizona Biltmore before departing the Valley on Nov. 1, 1987.

George Bush visited the Grand Canyon and more in the early ’90s

On Sept. 18, 1991, President George H.W. Bush visited the Grand Canyon.

Bush visited again on May 28, 1992, for a fundraising event for Sen. John McCain.

Bill Clinton visited Arizona 7 times during his presidency

President Bill Clinton’s new wave of Democratic influence created a total of seven trips to the state during his presidency from 1993 to 2001, according to his presidential records.

His first trip as president was on Sept. 11, 1996, to the Sun Dial Recreation Center in Sun City to give a campaign speech alongside former Gov. Rose Mofford and Rep. Ed Pastor.

George W. Bush visited Arizona to promote policy, align with key Republicans

President George W. Bush visited Phoenix while campaigning for his reelection in October 2004, where he had a debate with Sen. John Kerry at Arizona State University.

While in the Valley, Bush and the first family visited a Republican watch party of the debate in downtown Phoenix’s Bank One Ballpark, now Chase Field.

Bush would visit Arizona again in March 2005 in Tucson for a conversation on strengthening Social Security alongside Sen. John McCain, and later in August of the same year to welcome home troops at Luke Air Force Base.

Barack Obama visited Arizona 7 times

President Barack Obama made Arizona a regular stop during his eight years in office, making his first visit in February 2009, only a month after taking office.

On May 13, 2009, Obama gave the commencement speech for Arizona State University’s graduating class.

Obama’s arrival at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in January 2012 created controversy when then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was captured in an infamous photo pointing her index finger at the president in a scolding manner.

At the start of his second term, Obama visited Intel’s Ocotillo campus in Chandler to champion the tech giant.

Obama’s last visit to Arizona started on Feb. 7, 2015, to promote a federal plan to make it easier for Americans to become homeowners.

Donald Trump made Arizona a mainstay stop for his campaign

President Donald Trump made Arizona a hotbed for his reelection campaign in 2020, stopping for the first time in the state on Feb. 19, 2020, for a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Reporting by The Republic showed overflowing crowds outside the coliseum eager to hear the president’s speech that boasted the status of the economy at the time.

Trump would make six more trips across the state during his presidency between February and October.

On May 5, 2020, Trump visited a Phoenix Honeywell facility that manufactured masks at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing aid to Native Americans in Republic coverage.

Trump broke state records for tickets to a presidential event with rallies in Bullhead City and Goodyear on Oct. 28, 2020.

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President Joe Biden’s recent visits to Arizona

Joe Biden visited Arizona for the first time as president on Dec. 6, 2022, to tour the construction of a new Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. facility in Phoenix, according to coverage from The Republic.

On Sept. 27, 2023, Biden again traveled to Arizona for a tribute honoring the late Sen. John McCain.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: These United States presidents have visited Arizona. See the list

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