In 2020, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) hosted then-President Donald Trump for an Independence Day event at Mount Rushmore that included a patriotic fireworks display above the famed landmark.
It appears that a similar Fourth of July celebration won’t be repeated this year, however, as President Joe Biden’s administration refused to grant Gov. Noem a permit for such an event — and a federal judge just rejected the governor’s lawsuit seeking to have that “arbitrary” and “political” decision overturned, Fox News reported.
But while it may be too late to do anything about it in time for this year’s Independence Day holiday, Gov. Noem has vowed to appeal the court ruling and continue fighting in order to ensure that a patriotic celebration and fireworks display can be conducted at the historical landmark next year and beyond.
“Absolutely, it’s all political and punitive, and it’s ridiculous,” Noem said when asked if this was “retaliation” against her. “The fact that we have a judge that stood beside this political, arbitrary decision that came out of the Biden White House is unfortunate. But we do not quit. We keep fighting and this country is worth it.”
Court denies request
Dakota News Now reported that a federal judge on Wednesday had denied Gov. Noem’s request in a lawsuit filed in April to overturn a decision by President Biden’s National Park Service (NPS) to reject her application for a permit for a fireworks display at the famous national monument.
For what it is worth, the judge seemed inclined to like the idea of a patriotic and unifying celebration of the nation at Mount Rushmore, but ultimately sided with the NPS and its decision to deny the permit, based on its determination that such an event would pose too many health and safety risks.
Fox News noted that fireworks displays above Mount Rushmore had been a regular occurrence until 2009, but was then reinstated last year under Trump. However, this year, Biden’s NPS warned that a similar event could not be held due to concerns about COVID-19, the risk of wildfires and other environmental concerns, as well as ongoing construction around the monument.
“They don’t want to celebrate America”
During an appearance Thursday on Fox & Friends to discuss the court’s ruling, Gov. Noem said, “You know, the decision was really arbitrary. That’s why we’ll be appealing this decision, and the fight isn’t over,” she said.
“There wasn’t specific reasons that had credibility, and we call this an unlawful act to not make sure that we can conduct our celebration on July 3 at Mount Rushmore like we did last year,” the governor declared.
“This is part of the radical left’s agenda. They don’t want to celebrate America or our freedoms. They’re pushing critical race theory. They’re pushing the 1619 Project. And this is just another one of those battles to erase our true, honest, and patriotic history in this country,” Noem added, according to Breitbart.
As for the reasons cited by the government concerning the denial of the permit, Noem said all of those concerns had been adequately addressed with local, state, and federal officials last year and that an agreement had still been in place for this year and similar precautions had already been taken.
“To shut it down at this point, saying that there could be COVID concerns, fire concerns, environmental concerns, is just not honest,” she said. “We’ve addressed all their concerns. We had an agreement signed and then the National Park Service decided just not to issue us the permit. That’s why we went to court.”