Few monuments are more American than Mount Rushmore. It’s a giant rock face carved into the likeness of four U.S. presidents. It’s massive, over-the-top, and was completely unnecessary. Not to mention the monument was built on land seized from Native Americans just years after being given to tribes as a reservation.
Despite this sordid history (or maybe because of it), Donald Trump has repeatedly made light of adding his face to the world-famous sculpture. And according to new reports, the White House has actually asked officials in South Dakota what the process would look like to have an additional president added to the monument.
The White House allegedly asked about having Donald Trump’s face added to the monument in South Dakota.
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported a Republican party official stated that a White House aide reached out to South Dakota’s governor’s, Kristi Noem, office with the question: “What’s the process to add additional presidents to Mount Rushmore.
The question apparently came up after, according to reports, the governor had greeted Trump on his recent visit to South Dakota with a 4-feet tall replica of the monument that already included his face as a fifth element.
Ok…what would that even look like? Is it possible?
Thanks to the angle of some of the photographs taken when Trump visited the memorial in July, it isn’t necessary to Photoshop what it might look like. Trump posed in such a way that he effectively added himself as a fifth figure on the monument. But just in case you wondering – people have already taken to Twitter to share their mockups of an altered Mount Rushmore.
In June, Mount Rushmore National Memorial chief of interpretation and education, Maureen McGee-Ballinger, told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that it was not possible to add a fifth president to the monument.
“The rock that surrounds the sculpted faces is not suitable for additional carving. When Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore died in 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum closed down the project and stated that no more carvable rock existed,” McGee-Ballinger, whose office is part of the National Park Service.
In addition, Borglum chose those four presidents specifically “to represent the first 150 years of the history of the United States — the birth, growth and preservation of our country” – and “not to represent the individuals themselves.”
Over the years, many have called to add President Reagan or President Obama with little success. The addition of any of those presidents, or Trump, would be certain to ignite a political firestorm and infuriate their critics. On top of the partisan uproar it would be sure to cause, it would also likely meet with objection from Native American leaders, who have long decried the monument because it was built on land given to American Indian tribes through the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 before being seized by the federal government less than a decade later.
For his part, Trump has repeatedly denied the reports but when was Trump ever known for telling the truth?
As soon as the New York Times report came out, Donald Trump quickly tweeted a denial. However, he added that it would be a great idea, given his many accomplishments in office. When asked about the report, White House officials did not deny that it had taken place, and instead replied that Mount Rushmore is a federal, not state, monument.
However, let’s be clear, this isn’t the first time the president has raised the question of having himself added to the monument. During their first meeting when she was a Congresswoman, Kristi Noem (who is now governor of South Dakota) said he mentioned the idea. Trump allegedly told her it was “his dream” to have his face on Mount Rushmore. Later that year, Trump raised it again – this time in public, at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, in July.
Trump obviously has an obsession with having his face added to the monument – even if experts agree that it wouldn’t be physically possible.
Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at email@example.com