The show must go on
President Trump will reportedly visit Mount Rushmore on July 3 to see the fireworks display he helped facilitate, even as uncertainty over the pandemic stretches into the summer, Bloomberg News reports.
Earlier this week, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) confirmed the Independence Day celebration would go forward. "We're excited that this will be happening at Mount Rushmore," Noem said, as reported by CNN. "We've been working on this for quite some time." Trump had first floated the idea of holding "your first big fireworks display at Mount Rushmore" back in January, although firework shows have been held at the monument in the past only to be discontinued in 2009 over environmental concerns. Trump has waved off such worries by saying "what can burn? It's stone."
Noem is notably "one of a handful of governors not to issue an order shuttering non-essential businesses during the ongoing epidemic," Newsweek writes. As of this week, the state had 2,245 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 11 deaths, ranking it 41st among the country's 50 states for highest number of cases.
Asked about the congregation of crowds for the firework show in a couple of months, Noem said, "We'll continue to evaluate what the crowd looks like and how we'll be able to facilitate that event but regardless of how many people will be there, the fireworks will go off and I can't think of a better way for us to celebrate America's birthday."
Trump has been obsessed with the South Dakota monument — which depicts former presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson — for quite some time. "I said, 'Mr. President, you should come to South Dakota sometime, we have Mount Rushmore,'" Noem recalled in a 2018 interview. "And he goes, 'Do you know it's my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?' I started laughing. He wasn't laughing, so he was totally serious."