Trump aides reached out to South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem, to inquire about the process of adding another face to Mount Rushmore.
The inquiry was the second, as President Donald Trump expressed his interest in-person to Noem on her first trip to the Oval Office.
“He said, ‘Kristi, come on over here. Shake my hand,’” Noem said. “I shook his hand, and I said, ‘Mr. President, you should come to South Dakota sometime. We have Mount Rushmore.’ And he goes, ‘Do you know it’s my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?’ “
Noem thought he was joking.
“I started laughing,” she said. “He wasn’t laughing, so he was totally serious.”
The governor told the story to The Argus Leader in 2018, and the president’s interest has not waned.
Noem presented Trump with a four-foot model of the monument with his face carved into it in July when the president visited to give a speech for Independence Day. A devout Trump supporter, Noem reportedly joked with the president that while the monument is too unstable to carve into, there are other options.
“Come pick out a mountain,” she said.
Trump denied the report, which was initially presented in The New York Times, via Twitter. “This is Fake News by the failing @nytimes & bad ratings @CNN.” He wrote, “Never suggested it although, based on all of the many things accomplished during the first 3 1/2 years, perhaps more than any other Presidency, sounds like a good idea to me!”
According to the New York Times report, Noem was floated as replacing vice-president, Mike Pence, on the Trump 2020 campaign ticket. She and White House aides have denied that idea. Instead, Noem may be helping Pence prepare to debate Joe Biden’s female VP pick.
Noem is gaining national attention during the coronavirus pandemic. She has denounced mask mandates, is pushing for schools to reopen and has installed a television studio in her home where she regularly appears on Fox News. She has also hired a consultant, former Trump campaign spokesperson, Corey Lewandowski.
South Dakota is also home to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which drew tens of thousands of cyclists to the state.
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