Trump coming to Mount Rushmore July 3

Leslie Silverman

Preparations for the July 3 Mount Rushmore fireworks are underway with President Donald Trump saying he plans on attending.


May 1, President Donald Trump doubled down on visiting Mount Rushmore National Memorial for the Independence Day fireworks to be held July 3.


Trump stated in an interview on former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino’s podcast, “The Dan Bongino Show,” when discussing South Dakota’s budget approach that he plans on being at Mount Rushmore for the fireworks display.


“I got fireworks,” Trump said. “For 20 years or something it hasn’t been allowed for environmental reasons, you believe that one? It’s all stone. So I’m trying to say where’s the environmental reason? I got it approved, so I’m going to go there on July 3 and they’re gonna have the big fireworks.”


On May 1, after Trump said he plans on coming to Mount Rushmore for fireworks, South Dakota politicians took to social media to express their joy.


Sen. Mike Rounds said on Twitter that he looks forward to welcoming Trump to South Dakota.


Gov. Kristi Noem said, “Thank you @POTUS for working with us to make this a reality. There's truly no better place to celebrate America’s birthday.”


Rep. Dusty Johnson said he is looking forward to welcoming Trump to the state of South Dakota when the president comes to Mount Rushmore.


The event involves collaboration of many different entities including the National Park Service (NPS) and the state of South Dakota.


“The National Park Service is excited to move forward in collaboration with the state of South Dakota to provide a memorable Independence Day experience,” said Maureen McGee-Ballinger, Mount Rushmore National Memorial chief of interpretation and education. “The health and safety of National Park Service visitors, employees, volunteers and partners is the number one priority. The fireworks event would be held subject to appropriate weather, security, wildland fire conditions and public health guidance.”


The town of Keystone, the nearest town to the monument, is hoping to be a part of the conversations and logistical planning for the event.


“Our hope as a town is to partner with them during the planning process, and given the current COVID condition, to strategically devise plans, solutions and alternatives to a wide variety of potential scenarios,” said Keystone Town Board president Rick Brandfas. “Prior to COVID, and in one of our previous board meetings, trustees agreed to put together a town fireworks committee, and the hope was to use this committee to partner with Mount Rushmore. I plan on restarting the town fireworks committee conversation just to get it going again.”


However, according to an interview with Brandfas on April 28 (the day the return of fireworks was officially announced), “No one has reached out yet as this thing just got the go-ahead today. Between the town and Rushmore it’s anyone’s guess as to who will reach out first. As a gesture of proactive communication it would behoove the town fireworks committee (once formed) to reach out to Rushmore as soon as they possibly can.”


The tiny town has no current crowd control plan in place. Responsibility for additional police presence will likely fall on the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.


The town has already budgeted for additional portable toilets for the event.


“As far as the increase in people it will be huge but not unmanageable, and adjustments at Mount Rushmore and Keystone will probably be made,” Brandfas said. “I’m confident Mount Rushmore officials have or are currently developing a plan based on the guidelines. I believe the town cannot afford to ‘not’ have the fireworks.”


Hill City Prevailer News editor Gray Hughes contributed to this report.

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