Things That Matter

Mount Rushmore Could Soon Get A Big Change If Donald Trump Gets His Way

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.

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Love him or hate him, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has long called himself the voice of the people – and many Mexicans agree with him. That’s why his latest announcement against social media companies has many so worried.

In the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s (along with many other social media platforms) announcement that they would be restricting or banning Donald Trump from their platforms, the Mexican president expressed his contempt for the decisions. And his intention to create a Mexican social network that won’t be held to the standards from Silicon Valley.

Mexico’s AMLO moves to create a social media network for Mexicans outside of Silicon Valley’s control.

A week after his United States counterpart was kicked off Facebook and Twitter, President López Obrador floated the idea of creating a national social media network to avoid the possibility of Mexicans being censored.

Speaking at his daily news conference, AMLO instructed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) and other government departments to look at the possibility of creating a state-owned social media site that would guarantee freedom of speech in Mexico.

“We care about freedom a lot, it’s an issue that’s going to be addressed by us,” he told reporters. He also added that Facebook and Twitter have become “global institutions of censorship,” sounding a lot like the alt-right terrorists that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“To guarantee freedom, for freedom, so there’s no censorship in Mexico. We want a country without censorship. Mexico must be a country of freedom. This is a commitment we have,” he told reporters.

AMLO deeply criticized the moves by Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump from their platforms.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

AMLO – like Trump – is an avid user of social media to connect with his constituents. He’s also been known to spread falsehoods and boast about his achievements on the platforms – sound familiar?

So, it came as little surprise when he tore into social media companies for ‘censoring’ Donald Trump, saying that they have turned into “global institutions of censorship” and are carrying out a “holy inquisition.”

Nobody has the right to silence citizens even if their views are unpopular, López Obrador said. Even if the words used by Trump provoked a violent attack against his own government.

“Since they took these decisions [to suspend Trump], the Statue of Liberty has been turning green with anger because it doesn’t want to become an empty symbol,” he quipped.

So what could a Mexican social media network be called?

The president’s proposal to create a national social media network triggered chatter about what such a site would or should be called. One Twitter user suggested Facemex or Twitmex, apparently taking his inspiration from the state oil company Pemex.

The newspaper Milenio came up with three alternative names and logos for uniquely Mexican sites, suggesting that a Mexican version of Facebook could be called Facebookóatl (inspired by the Aztec feathered-serpent god Quetzalcóatl), Twitter could become Twitterlopochtli (a riff on the name of Aztec war, sun and human deity Huitzilopochtli) and Instagram could become Instagratlán (tlán, which in the Náhuatl language means place near an abundance of something – deer, for example, in the case of Mazatlán – is a common suffix in Mexican place names.)

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What Is the 25th Amendment and What Does it Do?: A Primer

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What Is the 25th Amendment and What Does it Do?: A Primer

via Getty Images

So in case you missed it, some crazy stuff went down at the Capitol yesterday. A mob of far-right Trump supporters broke into the Capitol building in “protest” of Congress ratifying President Elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes.

The heinous episode shocked and rattled many Americans. After months of inflammatory rhetoric, President Trump effectively activated his base into violent and treasonous actions. And people are upset. 

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have since called for Trump’s resignation. But knowing President Trump, it isn’t likely that he’s going to do that.

Because of that, lawmakers have reportedly been having talks to discuss invoking the 25th Amendment.

The 25th Amendment has four sections that dictate what will happen in the event of an acting president being unable to carry out the duties of office. These events have usually amounted to…colonoscopies (no, really). But this time around, lawmakers are looking to the fourth section of the amendment to remove Trump from office. And this is where the wording gets super lawyer-y.

Section Four the 25th Amendment states:

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

Translation: The Vice President, Trump’s cabinet, the Senate leader, and the Speaker of the House would all have to agree to ousting Trump.

It’s a little complicated, so let’s break it down. Vice President Pence and the majority (11 out of 23) of Trump’s cabinet would have to agree that he is unfit for office. Then, they must submit a written request to the “President pro Tempore” of the Senate (who is Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley) as well as the Speaker of the House (California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi).

But wait, that’s not all. As soon as this motion is enacted, President Trump would be able to contest that decision (which he most definitely would). In that case, VP Mike Pence, Senator Grassley, and Congresswoman Pelosi would have to re-draft another statement insisting that he is, indeed, unfit for office.

Then, two-thirds of both the Senate and the House of Representatives would have to agree with their decision.

Only then would Trump be permanently removed from the presidency.

So, yeah…a lot of steps. But there’s a good reason for that. If removing a president from office were easy, it would be done a lot more often and our democracy would be a lot shakier.

Remember relentlessly hearing about the “checks and balances” of our government in elementary school? This is what our teachers were talking about. A lot of different people in different parts of the government have to sign-off on hard decisions so we can all make sure every action is justified and reasonable.

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