Noem: No Mount Rushmore Fireworks Because Left Won't Celebrate America South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (John Raoux/AP)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 03 June 2021 01:27 PM
The "radical left" doesn't want to celebrate America or its freedoms, and that includes the call to cancel this year's Fourth of July fireworks show at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Thursday after a court upheld the Biden administration's decision to block the extravaganza.
"The decision was really arbitrary," the Republican governor said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "That's why we’ll be appealing this decision, and the fight isn't over. 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."
Fireworks displays had not been held at the federal landmark since 2009 but were renewed in 2020 under then-President Donald Trump, who held a no-masks or social distancing required rally at the landmark last year before the show.
However, this year, the National Parks Service rejected a request from Noem to bring the show back this July 4, citing not only the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but also the risk of wildfires, environmental concerns, and construction at the massive landmark that is not scheduled to be finished before the holiday. The opposition of the park's Native American tribal partners was also taken into consideration.
"Potential risks to the park itself and to the health and safety of employees and visitors associated with the fireworks demonstration continue to be a concern and are still being evaluated as a result of the 2020 event," wrote Herbert Frost, National Park Service regional director, at the time the denial was issued. "In addition, the park’s many tribal partners expressly oppose fireworks at the Memorial. These factors, compiled with the COVID-19 pandemic, do not allow safe and responsible fireworks display to be held at this site."
Noem filed a lawsuit to challenge the Park Service's decision, but an appeals court on Wednesday said South Dakota didn't meet the necessary requirements for the court to rule in its favor.
"It’s all political and punitive, and it's ridiculous," Noem told Fox News. "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."
She also claimed the decision to close the display down over COVID, fire hazards, and environmental concerns is "just not honest."
"We've addressed all their concerns," said Noem, adding that she thinks the decision was made because she's a Republican.
"We had an agreement signed and then the National Park Service decided just not to issue us the permit," said the governor. "That's why we went to court."
At this point, her legal team is planning to take up an appeal in an attempt to allow next year's Independence Day celebration to include fireworks.