President Donald Trump said he’d try to attend the July 4th celebration at Mount Rushmore this year.
Speaking at the White House before signing the China trade deal, Trump said he was behind fireworks being allowed again during the celebration at the national monument.
“I called up our people and in 15 minutes got it approved, and we will have the first fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, and I will try and get out there if I can,” Trump said on Wednesday.
Fireworks were part of the yearly July 4th celebration at Mount Rushmore but were discontinued in 2010 because of concerns of a pine beetle infestation in the surrounding Black Hills National Forest.
According to a 2016 report from the U.S. Geological Survey, the fireworks display, which started in 1998, found concentrations of metals that are commonly associated in groundwater and surface water within and adjacent to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Trump told South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem at the White House in December 2019 that “nobody knows why” the fireworks were ended “but you just couldn’t have it.”
“And now you’re going to have fireworks. And the Governor called, and she said, ‘You got to do me a favor.’ Right?” he said.
“And you did,” Noem responded.
“And we worked it out. And we got it done. And you’re going to have fireworks,” Trump said.
Noem announced in May 2019 that the fireworks would be brought back on Independence Day in 2020.
“We are excited and honored to see fireworks return to our nation’s Shrine of Democracy. When the fireworks were previously held at Mount Rushmore, the show was beamed around the globe via satellite. The entire world was able to view a celebration of our nation’s freedoms from the majestic memorial and the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota,” she said in a statement.
“There is no more fitting place in all the nation to celebrate our democracy than from Mount Rushmore. We are grateful to President Trump and Interior Secretary Bernhardt for helping us make this happen.”
The governor’s office said that the concerns related to the pine beetle infestation were stemmed because since 2009, “the forest has gained strength and advancements in pyrotechnics allow for a safe fireworks display.”
Trump reacted at the time on Twitter, writing, “I am pleased to inform you that THE BIG FIREWORKS, after many years of not having any, are coming back to beautiful Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.”
He thanked Noem and U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
“I look forward to working with the State of South Dakota to restore a fireworks display at one of our nation’s great Memorials, which tells the story of the birth, growth, development, and preservation of this great country,” Bernhardt said in a statement.