A White House aide asked the office of South Dakota’s governor about the process of adding more presidents to Mount Rushmore, The New York Times reports.
A Republican official with knowledge of the conversation told the newspaper that the White House reached out to Kristi Noem’s office last year. It wasn’t clear whether President Trump wanted a mountain carving of his own, as he has touted the conservative icon Ronald Reagan as a possible Rushmore candidate in the past.
But when Trump gave an Independence Day speech at the monument last month, Governor Noem greeted him with a four-foot model of Mount Rushmore with his face etched into it, according to the report.
Noem, a Trump ally who has recently been rumoured as his potential running mate to replace Mike Pence, has brought up Trump’s fascination with Mount Rushmore before.
In a 2018 interview with a South Dakota newspaper, she recalled that Trump told her he wanted his face to be carved into the mountain during their first meeting at the Oval Office.
“He said, ‘Kristi, come on over here. Shake my hand,’” she recounted. “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 said she thought that Trump was joking and laughed in response, but “he wasn’t laughing, so he was totally serious.”
Whoever wants to be eternalised in the granite, he or she will probably have to pick another mountain.
It looks as though there is a spot to the right of George Washington, which is where the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, initially planned to put Thomas Jefferson.
However, after nearly two years of work on Jefferson’s face, the surface was found to be unsuitable and the sculpture was blasted off and then carved to Washington’s left.