South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says her opponents 'don't want to celebrate America or our freedoms.'
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem on Thursday blamed "the radical left's agenda" for the cancellation of Independence Day fireworks at Mount Rushmore.
Noem recently sued the Department of the Interior after the National Park Service cited objections from Native American tribes and concerns about environmental damage in denying a permit for the fireworks show.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange ruled against Noem, noting that the Park Service decision was not "arbitrary and capricious" as Noem had alleged.
In an appearance on "Fox & Friends," Noem said that the judge's ruling was "arbitrary" and that she would be appealing it. She lashed out at what she claimed was truly behind the cancellation.
"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," said Noem.
The New York Times' 1619 Project is focused on addressing the role of slavery and its aftereffects on America's history and its present, and the role of Black people in the country's development. It is not about fireworks. The same is true of "critical race theory," which refers the academic study of racism's role but which has come to be deployed as a rallying cry for Republicans to motivate conservative voters against anyone they disagree with.
Fireworks had not been allowed at the site from 2009 to 2020 in response to concerns about fire conditions and objections from Native American tribes.
In 2020, with the Trump administration clearing the way for the July Fourth celebration, Donald Trump appeared in person at Mount Rushmore before a packed crowd to give a campaign speech in the midst of an upsurge in new coronavirus cases.
In March, Noem herself signed a declaration indicating "serious peril" from "dangerous fire conditions" in South Dakota that extended from March 30 to June 1.
Noem has been discussed as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024, and she has been seen as seeking to boost her national profile with actions like the fireworks lawsuit.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.