The Times reports that a White House official contacted South Dakota’s governor last year inquiring about the process of adding additional presidents. In turn, the state’s governor, Kristi Noem, recently gifted Trump with a four-foot replica of Mount Rushmore that included his likeness alongside Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt.
Ultimately, though, it is not up to Noem whether or not to add Trump to the actual Mount Rushmore. As it is a federal monument, it’s managed by National Park Service. And, fortunately, their stated position is there’s no room for a fifth face.
“The rock that surrounds the sculpted faces is not suitable for additional carving, said Maureen McGee-Ballinger, Mount Rushmore National Memorial Chief of Interpretation and Education, in an interview with the Argus Leader. “When Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore died in 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum closed down the project and stated that no more carvable rock existed.”
Additionally, McGee-Ballinger explained, “Mount Rushmore was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum to represent the first 150 years of the history of the United States — the birth, growth and preservation of our country. He chose the four presidents to represent the principles of our present form of government not to represent the individuals themselves.”
“It is one man’s artistic interpretation, and a tribute to that period of our nation’s history. The National Park Service takes the position that death stayed the hand of the artist and the work is complete in its present form. Thus, to maintain both the integrity of the structure and the artist’s concept, there is no procedure for adding another likeness, the sculpture is complete.”
Then again, when have established norms and traditions ever stopped Donald Trump from getting his way?