Exclusively Online | Fall 2021 Issue

“A Lighter Look” — Back Off, Mogul

Rick Meyer’s regularly appearing column takes a lighter look at politics and public affairs around the world. This month: Presidents' Day.

By Richard E. Meyer

Overheard at Mar-a-Lago:

“If I wear a mask, how will the sculptor know the contours of my beautiful face?”

“Mogul, the rule is clear: Masks are required for everyone, regardless of location or vaccination status, in all NPS [National Park Service] buildings and crowded outdoor spaces.

 “Don’t call me Mogul. The Secret Service calls me that. How would you like it if I called you Rapunzel? That’s what your chief of staff says the agents called you because you rarely left the White House. It was your tower.”

“As your wife, I’ll call you whatever I want. But don’t change the subject. If we are going to Mount Rushmore, you have to obey the rules.”

“But I can change the rules. I’m still the president. Sleepy Joe stole the election.”

“Tell that to Congress.”

“Presidents’ Day is the perfect time to have my beautiful face carved on the mountain. Remember when we were in the White House and I tweeted a picture of myself standing in front of Mount Rushmore with my face next to Abe Lincoln’s, and how South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem came to see me, and I told her: ‘Do you know it’s my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?’ ”

“But, Mogul . . . ”

“I’m far more famous than anybody who’s up there. If you say ‘Abe,’ it could be the chauffeur. Or ‘Tom?’ He could be the lawn boy. Or ‘Theodore?’ That could be Ted Kennedy, for heaven’s sake! Or ‘George?’ He could be anyone.’ But ‘The Donald’ – everyone knows it’s me.”

“But, Mogul . . .  ”

“I have even said in a speech, ‘I can be more presidential than any president in history except for Honest Abe Lincoln when he’s wearing a hat.’ ”

“I love you, Mogul, but have you ever done anything that compares to ending secession and freeing the slaves? Have you ever done anything as important as that?”

“Well, Rapunzel, I got re-elected.”

Room for More on Rushmore?

In fact, there is no place available on Mount Rushmore for The Donald or anyone else.

“First, the rock that surrounds the sculpted faces is not suitable for additional carving,” Maureen McGee-Ballinger, a National Park Service chief of interpretation and education, has told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “When Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, died in 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum closed down the project.” He said exposing new surfaces could cause structural instability.

“Second, Mount Rushmore was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum to represent the first 150 years of the history of the United States – the birth, growth and preservation of our country,” McGee-Ballinger said. He chose four presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, “to represent the principles of our present form of government, not to represent the individuals themselves. . . .”

Mount Rushmore “is one man’s artistic interpretation and a tribute to that period of our nation’s history. The National Park Service takes the position that death stayed the hand of the artist, and the work is complete in its present form.”




The Last Laugh:

Headline in the Onion: “Jimmy Carter Added To Mount Rushmore After Becoming 5th Former President To Bowl Perfect 300”

Richard E. Meyer

Richard E. Meyer

Meyer is the senior editor of Blueprint. He has been a White House correspondent and national news features writer for the Associated Press and a roving national correspondent and editor of long-form narratives at the Los Angeles Times.

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