Amid the riots and general chaos that took root in many major U.S. cities following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, former President Donald Trump sought to actually unite and celebrate the country around its shared values with a speech and a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore on the Fourth of July.
The Biden administration, on the other hand, has found excuses to not repeat the show — and did so for a third consecutive year last week.
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem announced the news last Thursday.
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“The best way to celebrate America’s Birthday is with fireworks at Mount Rushmore,” Noem said on Trump’s social media platform Truth Social. “Today, the Biden Administration rejected them. Again.”
President Joe Biden’s administration cited health concerns about COVID-19 in rejecting Noem’s application for a fireworks show at the iconic landmark in 2021. Last year, the Interior Department denied a second permit request by deferring to complaints of Native American activists.
The reason for the denial this year wasn’t immediately clear.
But Noem’s news drew a response from Trump.
On Truth Social, he posted, “But I made this incredible event happen, and was there to celebrate with the great people of South Dakota and America. Ridiculous that it is no longer allowed. So great for USA spirit.”
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“As President,” he continued in a hint at 2024, “ it will SOON happen again. I Love Mount Rushmore!”
Noem had sued the administration in 2021 over the original denial. But a federal judge tossed that case, saying the federal government had the discretion to allow events on its property.