Donald Trump has denied reports the White House inquired about getting his face carved onto Mount Rushmore alongside past US presidential greats – but then immediately suggested it “sounds like a good idea”.
According to the New York Times, an official approached the office of South Dakota governor Kristi Noem last year to find out what the “official process” is for adding a president to the national monument that bears the likeness of four of the country’s most famous leaders.
Mr Trump on Monday dismissed the report as “fake news” in a tweet, but went on to hail the achievements of his presidency.
He tweeted: “Never suggested it although, based on all of the many things accomplished during the first 3 1/2 years, perhaps more than any other Presidency, sounds like a good idea to me!”
Mr Trump has reportedly speculated before about having his face on Mount Rushmore alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
According to the Argus Leader, Ms Noem claimed that during a conversation with Mr Trump in 2018 he told her it was his “dream” to have his face on Mount Rushmore.
She said it was during their first meeting at the Oval Office.
“He said, ‘Kristi, come on over here. Shake my hand,'” she said.
“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?'”
Ms Noem thought he was joking.
“I started laughing,” she said. “He wasn’t laughing, so he was totally serious.”
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a huge sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore, situated in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota.
Mr Trump also mused about the idea during a July 2017 rally in Youngstown, Ohio – but then went on to insist that’s not what he was really doing.
“I’d ask whether or not you think I will someday be on Mount Rushmore,” he said at the time.
“But here’s the problem: If I did it joking, totally joking, having fun, the fake news media will say ‘he believes he should be on Mount Rushmore’.
“So I won’t say it, OK? I won’t say it,” he added.