ST. PAUL — South Dakotans could be paid a visit from President Donald Trump this July.
Speaking on a Friday, May 1 radio show, Trump said he plans to attend the Independence Day fireworks display at Mt. Rushmore National Monument in South Dakota's Black Hills, which are set to take place for the first time since 2009 (unless they are cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic).
Trump mentioned his travel plans off-handedly as he was complimenting South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's — as well as other Republican governors' — handling of state budgets during the nationwide coronavirus pandemic. Noem has drawn national attention for being one of few governors in the country who never issued a stay-at-home executive order.
"For 20 years or something, (the fireworks display) hasn’t been allowed for environmental reasons," Trump said. "Can you believe that? It’s all stone so I’m trying to say, ‘Where’s the environmental reason?’ Anyway, I got it approved so I’m going to go there on July 3 and they’re going to have the big fireworks."
The annual Independence Day fireworks, which took place from 1998 to 2009, ended due to wildfires in the monument's surrounding forests, not of the monument, itself.
"Thank you @POTUS for working with us to make this a reality," Noem tweeted. "There's truly no better place to celebrate America's birthday."
Noem has said that at this point, the display is still planned to take place this year despite the pandemic and locals' concerns over potential water contamination, as well as the Black Hills' sacredness to the state's Native American tribes.