In 2019, White House aides reached out to the governor of South Dakota and asked about the process of adding additional presidents to Mount Rushmore, a Republican official familiar with the conversation told the New York Times.
So, when the president arrived last month for his July fourth festivities, the governor of the state, Kristi Noem, presented Trump with a four-foot replica of Mount Rushmore that included his face.
Adding to the already odd ask is the fact that the federal government is in charge of such matters, not the state, and the National Park Service has addressed the subject several times with a hard no, citing instability to the structure making it impossible to make additions.
In a 2018 interview, Noem says that Trump told her that it was a “dream” of his to be carved into the mountain.
Noem told South Dakota’s Argus Leader that during a White House visit, Trump said to her: “‘Kristi, come on over here. Shake my hand.'” The governor continued, “I shook his hand, and I said, ‘Mr. President, you should come to South Dakota sometime. We have Mount Rushmore.’ And he goes, ‘Do you know it’s my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?’ I started laughing. He wasn’t laughing, so he was totally serious.”
Because of Trump’s mountain-sized ego, none of this is a surprise. He often suggests that his tenure might be equal to or better than past presidents. In June, the president tried to diminish the accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln, while praising himself. Trump has also boasted that he’s a “far greater” president than Ronald Reagan was.