- Last year, a White House adviser asked the South Dakota governor’s office Kristi Noem how to add more presidents to Mount Rushmore, the New York Times reported Saturday, citing an anonymous source familiar with the conversation .
- Governor Noem toyed with President Trump’s interest in the memorial in July and greeted him with a four-foot-long replica of Mount Rushmore with his face engraved on it.
- Noem remembered her first meeting with Trump in the oval office: “I said, ‘Mr. President, you should come to South Dakota sometime. We have Mount Rushmore.̵
- It is not possible to add another president to the memorial, according to reports from the South Dakota newspaper Argus Leader.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
There’s no way to carve the face of a fifth president into the Mount Rushmore National Monument in South Dakota – according to the National Park Service, there is no longer a safe surface.
But that didn’t stop the Trump administration from asking.
Last year, a White House adviser contacted the South Dakota Governor’s office, Republican Kristi Noem, to inquire about the process of adding more faces, according to the New York Times. The Times quoted a Republican official familiar with the conversation.
Trump’s interest in Mount Rushmore and his desire to join the four existing presidents come as no surprise to Noem, who says he brought it up when they first met in the oval office.
“He said, ‘Kristi, come here. Shake my hand,'” Noem told the South Dakota Argus leader. “I shook his hand and said, ‘Mr. President, you should come to South Dakota sometime. We have Mount Rushmore.’ And he says, “You know, it’s my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?” “I started laughing,” she said. “He didn’t laugh so he was totally serious.”
Noem, a close ally of President Trump, has since played into that dream, at least with the power it has.
When Trump visited the memorial for an Independence Day speech in early July, she greeted him with a four-foot-tall model of Mount Rushmore with his face carved on it, the Times reported, citing a source familiar with the exchange.
The news came amid rumors that Noem might overtake Vice President Mike Pence as Trump’s deputy in the 2020 election, despite The Times quoting a source who said Noem had already told Pence that she was not trying to replace him.
To be clear, it’s not possible to add another face to Mount Rushmore. While it looks like there’s a spot to the right of George Washington – where the sculptor Gutzon Borglum actually wanted to use Thomas Jefferson – the rock surface is unstable.
Noem reportedly joked with Trump that there was another option, Argus Leader reports.
“Come and choose a mountain,” she said to him.