Donald Trump is a man cognitively and temperamentally incapable of solving the real problems facing the country he was elected to lead. Instead, he chooses to manufacture crises and then “solve” them so that he can claim victory. The trade war with China was one such Trump-created crisis and now he’s taking credit for ending it. Earlier today, the president signed a deal with China to deescalate the economic tensions and reopen the markets of each country to each other.
Inevitably, Trump was given a microphone and ended up going off on one of his rambling speeches. Much of it was the kind of boilerplate stuff we’ve come to expect from his incoherent mind but one section about fireworks stood out as particularly bizarre. Trump noticed Governor Kristi Noem (R-SD) and asked her to stand up.
“We’re going to do a big fireworks display, right? Mount Rushmore. We’re going over, I think I’m going to try to be there on July 4th,” Trump said to Noem. “So the governor called, she ran a great race, a tough race. That was a tough competitor you had right? A big star. But she was a bigger star it turned out Lindsey. But she said ‘You think we could get fireworks back at Mount Rushmore?” he went on, segueing into what would become the oddest, most random part of his remarks.
“I said ‘Why?’ They hadn’t been there for like twenty years. I said ‘Why?’ Environmental reasons. I said ‘You mean you can’t have fireworks because of the environment?’ Yeah, environmental reasons. I said ‘What can burn? It’s stone! You know? It’s stone!” Trump said, trotting out the same level of ignorance he uses to talk about windmills.
“So nobody knew why. They just said environmental reasons. So I called up our people and within about fifteen minutes we got it approved and you’re going to have your first big fireworks display at Mount Rushmore. And I’ll try and get out there if I can,” said the president.
It goes without saying that Mount Rushmore and fireworks have nothing to do with Chinese trade but by now these kinds of non-sequiturs and weird tangents are to be expected and can be easily chalked up to Trump’s infamously short attention span or perhaps a deteriorating mind.
What should be concerning is that once again Trump is taking action without understanding the facts of the matter. Of course people aren’t concerned about fireworks burning the stone at Mount Rushmore. Trump has a cartoonish understanding of what’s going on. The real concerns are tied to a US Geological Survey which concluded that past firework shows are likely responsible for concentrated levels of contaminants in the local groundwater.
“An environmental concern to water resources within Mount Rushmore National Memorial has been the annual aerial fireworks display at the memorial for the Independence Day holiday during 1998–2009. A major concern of park management is the contamination of groundwater and surface water by perchlorate, which is used as an oxidizing agent in firework displays,” the report states.
It’s likely that our habitually ignorant president doesn’t know about these findings, but it’s also entirely possible that he knows and simply doesn’t care. The cavalier manner in which he dismissed “environmental reasons” as a valid argument against the fireworks is perfectly in keeping with his toxic worldview. This is after all the same man who once said climate change is a “Chinese hoax.” It’s not so much that Trump doesn’t care about the environment, it’s that he actively mocks anyone who does.
To Donald Trump, environmentalism is a weakness to be expunged and smeared and because of this man future generations will inherit a greatly lessened world.
Watch the clip below.
President Trump: "We're going to do a big fireworks display, right, Mount Rushmore… They haven't been there for like 20 years. I said, 'Why?' Environmental reasons. I said, 'You can't have fireworks for environmental reasons?… What can burn? It's stone.'" pic.twitter.com/oAN4TtpiGh
— The Hill (@thehill) January 15, 2020
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.