From Business Insider:
"He said, 'Kristi, come on over here. Shake my hand,'" Noem recounted to
South Dakota's Argus Leader. "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?' "I started laughing," she said. "He wasn't laughing, so
he was totally serious."
“When Trump visited the monument in early July for an Independence Day speech, she greeted him with a four-foot model of Mount Rushmore with his face carved into it, the Times reported, citing a source familiar with the exchange.”
Trump mentioned the idea of adding himself to Mt Rushmore at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio in 2017. “I’d ask whether or not you think I will someday be on Mount Rushmore.”
“But, no — here’s the problem,” Trump said. “If I did it joking, totally joking, having fun, the fake news media will say, ‘He believes he should be on Mount Rushmore!”
On July 4th, 2020, Trump proclaimed at Mt. Rushmore that there was no “better place to celebrate America’s independence” and saw his trip as a way to celebrate that “no nation has done more to advance the human condition.” Unfortunately, this glosses over this violent history with triumphant narratives of western expansion and freedom. The hills belonged to the Sioux under the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty that stated the territory consisting of what is today western South Dakota was “set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation” of the Sioux Nation.
From the Washington Post:
"Following the Panic of 1873, however, the United States was starved for
gold specie to back up its paper currency. In July 1874, Gen. George
Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry set out on an expedition to
“examine” the Black Hills. He brought with him a pair of gold miners.
After the expedition discovered gold in the hills, as one dispatch put
it, “right from the grass roots,” there was immense pressure on the
Grant administration to annex the mountain range through war or treaty.
“After negotiations to cede the hills collapsed, President Ulysses S.
Grant convened confidential meetings to draw up battle plans. Grant
mobilized the army in February 1876 to corral tribal members hunting on
their own land onto reservations. The series of skirmishes from this
mobilization included Custer’s annihilation at the Battle of the Little
Bighorn on June 25, 1876.
“Following national furor over Custer’s defeat, Congress in 1877
unilaterally removed the Black Hills from the boundaries of the Fort
Laramie Treaty. This expropriation enabled boom towns, mining camps and
settlers to proliferate. The infamous mining town Deadwood put a $50
bounty on Indians captured dead or alive, with one resident stating that
“killing Indians was conducive to the health of the community.”
To be clear, adding another face to Mount Rushmore is not possible. While it looks like there’s a spot to the right of George Washington — which is actually where the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, intended to put Thomas Jefferson — the rock surface is unstable.