President plans to be at Mount Rushmore July 4

Gray Hughes

Editor's Note: Mount Rushmore National Memorial has since come out with more information since publication. Please look for an article next week with further details.


Mount Rushmore National Memorial might play host to the Commander in Chief this Fourth of July.

During the signing phase one of the United States-China trade deal Jan. 15, President Donald Trump addressed South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who was attending the signing with Sen. Mike Rounds.

“We’re doing a big fireworks display, right? Mount Rushmore,” Trump said. “We’re going over, I think I’m going to be there on July 4.”

Mount Rushmore has not had fireworks since 2009, a move done to preserve the environment surrounding the memorial. It was announced by Mount Rushmore in May 2019 the memorial will begin to look into the prospect of having fireworks there July 4.

Trump said in his speech that he had been asked to bring the fireworks back to the memorial.

“I said ‘why?’” Trump said, discussing a conversation he had regarding fireworks at the memorial. “Environmental reason. I said ‘You mean you can't have fireworks because of the environment?’ Yeah, environmental reasons. I said ‘What can burn? It’s stone, you know? It’s stone.’ So nobody knew why, they just said environmental reasons, so I called up our people, and within about 15 minutes we got it approved, and you are going to have your first big fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, and I’ll try to get out there, if I can. That will be great.”

The possibility of Trump coming to Mount Rushmore caught fire, and many people, including Rep. Dusty Johnson applauded the move.

“Thank you @realDonaldTrump for bringing fireworks back to South Dakota,” Johnson said in a Tweet Jan. 15. “We look forward to welcoming you at the @MountRushmoreNM fireworks show this 4th of July. #HifromSD.”

However, Mount Rushmore National Memorial said nothing is firm in terms of having the fireworks nor did it comment on the possibility of having Trump visit the memorial July 4.

In a statement from Mount Rushmore National Memorial, chief of interpretation and education Maureen McGee-Ballinger said the National Park Service is committed to working with the state of South Dakota as well as other land agencies and will “exercise our full authorities under state and federal law…to explore and develop safe and responsible options in regard to the proposal (to have fireworks at Mount Rushmore.”

“An environmental easement (EA) is underway to explore how to develop a safe and reasonable option,” McGee-Ballinger said. “We anticipate the EA will be available for public comment in February. Public meetings will be held during the public comment period. Please visit website for updates and information on and public comment periods.”

On the webpage, it states that the National Park Service is evaluating a proposal from South Dakota to host a fireworks display at the memorial during the Independence Day holiday 2020.

This evaluation, the statement reads, includes tribal consultation as well as compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act, National Historic Preservation Act and Endangered Species Act.

“The (National Park Service) and the state are working together to evaluate various operational, logistical, resource management and mitigation measures,” the statement reads. “There will be opportunities for public comment in early 2020.”

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