President Trump is planning on having what he describes on Twitter as “THE BIG FIREWORKS” at Mount Rushmore on July 3rd. This is where Trump’s priorities lie as Black Lives Matter protests continue throughout the country and a global pandemic spikes to its highest levels yet in the United States as a result of Trump’s abysmal and damaging response.
Trump is ignoring the high risk of wildfires in the area surrounding Mt. Rushmore in the same way that he is ignoring the COVID-19 pandemic. The Black Hills of South Dakota have been in a moderate drought since the beginning of April, and the National Weather Service told CNN that the area has seen much higher temperatures than normal for this time of year.
To put the risk in perspective, on June 24th a wildfire started just six miles south of Mt. Rushmore, so any kind of pyrotechnics are going to put the Black Hills National Forest at risk of burning. To add, the last time there were fireworks at Mt. Rushmore in 2009, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey found that the fireworks had left Perchlorates in the drinking water at the memorial.
Perchlorate is a considered a “likely human carcinogen” by the EPA. In short, it can cause thyroid cancer, and is absolutely not something that should be in the drinking water. Since that time, no fireworks displays have taken place at Mt. Rushmore in order to maintain the safety of both the public and the environment.
Not only is Trump showing a disregard for the risk that the fireworks themselves pose, but there are currently no social distancing guidelines in place for this event that is supposed to draw in thousands of spectators. Addressing all of these issues to the Washington Post, former Superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Park Cheryl Schreier said about the fireworks display, “It’s a bad idea based on the wild land fire risk, the impact to the water quality of the memorial, the fact that is going to occur during a pandemic without social distancing guidelines and the emergency evacuation issues.”
Trump is choosing to ignore this advice in the same way that he continues to ignore the opinions of medical professionals, the WHO, and the CDC about how to stop the spread of COVID-19. He cares more about his image and telling himself that America is the greatest country in the world than the actual state of America. Rather than facing the issues, he decides to continually ignore them and make a big deal about he’s already fixed the problem.
To Trump, it doesn’t make sense to acknowledge that the Coronavirus is still a problem, because he needs to brag about how he saved the country. Trump has a blatant disregard for anything that gets in the way of his ego, so putting on a fireworks display in the Black Hill National Forest at Mount Rushmore despite the risk of wildfires and water contamination with no social distancing protocols should come as no surprise.