TRUMP, IN FIERY MOUNT RUSHMORE ADDRESS, DECRIES RISE OF ‘FAR-LEFT FASCISM,’ CALLS ON AMERICANS TO INCREASE UP
“They want to erase it. They want to remove it,” that he said.
Last week, Johnson introduced the Mount Rushmore Protection Act. The bill would prohibit the use of federal funds to alter or destroy the enormous monument in any way.
“When you look at those four great presidents on Mount Rushmore, they did as much as a person can — as anybody can — to build toward a more perfect union,” he said. “Now is the time we should be rallying around those values: freedom, independence, liberty, equality. But, there are people who want to tear them down..
“My bill would make it clear that not one American nickel would go toward changing the name of Mount Rushmore or blasting off or altering those faces.”
All eyes were on Mount Rushmore Friday evening for President Trump’s early Independence Day celebration. Standing ahead of the monument, the president vowed it “will never be desecrated.”
“These heroes will never be defaced. Their legacy will never, ever be destroyed. Their achievements will never be forgotten. And Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom,” Trump said to cheers.
But the monument has drawn the ire of Native Americans for decades.
Once sacred Lakota tribal territory, the site was occupied by way of a group of Native American protesters in the 1970s. In 1980, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that more than $100 million should be given in compensation to eight tribes.
Hours ahead of the president arrived Friday, protesters — mostly Native Americans protesting the federal government’s seizure of part of the Black Hills — blocked a road leading to the monument.
Johnson said he believes Trump’s comments tied in “incredibly well” with his bill, and decried those who “want to focus on the flaws” of the presidents chiseled into the mountainside.
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“I mean, I love this country. It’s the greatest country in the history of humankind. And I think there is an incredibly powerful story there to tell to our young people about the aspirations of this country,” the congressman said. “Not about the flaws of Abraham Lincoln, but about the steps he took to become the great emancipator.”
“Yes, by all means, let’s not ignore the flaws. But I’m concerned that some of my friends on the other side get so enamored talking about the imperfections of America they forget how unbelievably lucky we all are to be living in this country in this century,” Johnson said.