South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg on significance of Independence Day at Mt Rushmore: 'Looking like a great day'

South Dakota Attorney General on significance of Trump kicking off Independence Day at Mount Rushmore

Jason Ravnsborg, South Dakota attorney general, explains on ‘Fox & Friends.’

President Trump's Independence Day event at Mount Rushmore is "looking like a great day," South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said Friday.

In an interview on the "Fox & Friends" with host Brian Kilmeade, the Army veteran said South Dakota residents are "very excited" to have fireworks for the first time in a decade and that they are honored to host the president.


"I think the president's policies line up very well with South Dakota of low taxes, pro-military, and appreciation for law enforcement," he said.

Tensions have continued to rise during weeks of national unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. All of this comes as the coronavirus pandemic rages on — though the figures in South Dakota are notably smaller than states in the South and Western U.S.

Mount Rushmore is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its completion this year.

Kilmeade asked Ravnsborg if he thought that Mount Rushmore could be seen as a symbol of American white supremacy and erasure of culture. Once Lakota tribe territory, the land in which it was built is embroiled in controversy. Over a century after it was built, the site was occupied by a group of Native Americans protesting against treaty violations. In 1980, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that that more than $100 million should be given in compensation to eight tribes.

Ravsborg said the monument is significant.

"Each of the presidents were picked for a specific reason. President Washington for obviously the birth of our nation. President Jefferson for the growth of our nation, President Lincoln for the development of our nation, and Teddy Roosevelt for the preservation of our nation. This is a symbol of American exceptionalism," Ravsborg said. "And, I believe that [it] is no way a symbol of white supremacy."

"We are sympathetic to their feelings on the issue, but I do believe that it was not meant to desecrate the land but to honor America and honor our state of South Dakota," he added.

Ravsnborg later told Kilmeade that he is "not for mobs or taking down statues or monuments or defacing them in any fashion," and that he believes in the democratic process."

Potential agitators are not the only concern for those in attendance. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Tuesday that there would not be social distancing at the event and that those who were uncomfortable could stay home.

"Well, I think we are always worried about it but we have taken proper precautions to mitigate those potential damages and I think we are going to be just fine today," Ravnsborg said.


"Masks will be available first off. They are not required but people will be able to have them if they don't have one with them when they come," he said. "And, I think that we have done a number of things to mitigate the spread of the COVID. As you probably know, our state has not mandated these various policies that other states have. And, I think we are very proud of that and our numbers have remained low."

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