The Democratic Party set its ire on Mount Rushmore in a since-deleted tweet Monday night, decrying an upcoming Independence Day celebration at the treasured American monument as “glorifying white supremacy.”
At the invitation of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), President Donald Trump plans to headline a major fireworks display at Mount Rushmore on July 3, marking the first time the site has hosted such a patriotic spectacle since 2009. Prior to that point, Fourth of July fireworks shows at Mount Rushmore were an annual tradition.
“Trump has disrespected Native communities time and again,” read the erased tweet from the official account linked to the Democratic Party. “He’s attempted to limit their voting rights and blocked critical pandemic relief. Now he’s holding a rally glorifying white supremacy at Mount Rushmore — a region once sacred to tribal communities.”
The political party linked to an article from The Guardian, a left-leaning European outlet, which promoted the belief that Mount Rushmore, a 60-foot high sculpture depicting the faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt that was completed between 1927 and 1941, is “a symbol of white supremacy.”
Nick Tilsen, a Native American activist, told the British newspaper it is “an injustice to actively steal indigenous people’s land, then carve the white faces of the conquerors who committed genocide.”
What’s the response?
Needless to say, the Democrats’ tweet sparked swift backlash and has since been deleted.
Gov. Noem chimed in on the bubbling issue last week, when conservative commentator Ben Shapiro tweeted, “So, when is our woke historical revisionist priesthood going to insist on blowing up Mount Rushmore?” In response, Noem wrote, “Not on my watch.”
Meghan McCain, the lone conservative co-host on “The View,” saw this coming, too:
Here’s a sampling of some other responses to the Democratic Party’s post:
In addition to the July 3 fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, President Trump is planning to host a scaled-back “Salute to America” event on the south lawn of the White House on July 4 to honor the U.S. military.
Judd Deere, a spokesperson for the White House, told The Washington Post the Trump administration consulted with the physician’s office and military office while planning the trip to South Dakota.
“The president looks forward to taking part in the Independence Day festivities, hosted by Gov. Noem, and celebrating the greatest country the world has ever known capped off with a magnificent fireworks display above the great faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln,” Deere said. “The president takes the health and safety of everyone traveling in support of himself and all White House operations very seriously.”
There have also been environmental concerns about reinstating the Fourth of July fireworks show. Cheryl Schreier, who served as the superintendent at Mount Rushmore National Park between September 2010 and May 2019, told the Post having so many people on a small tract of land poses “public health and safety risks, not only to the visitors but to employees.” She also said fireworks is “a bad idea based on the wild land fire risk, the impact to the water quality of the memorial, [and] the fact that it is going to occur during a pandemic without social distancing guidelines and the emergency evacuation issues.”
However, earlier this year, the Park Service issued an environmental assessment concluding the Independence Day event would cause “no significant impact” on the monument or surrounding public lands.