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On Tuesday night, Don Lemon floated a strange idea for solving America’s racial disparities: putting former President Barack Obama’s face on Mount Rushmore.
Responding to President Trump’s speech at the famed monument, Lemon said that the racist and divisive history of the country should translate into the first black president being placed on Mount Rushmore.
“You see the right-wing machine kick in, media machine kick in, when you see Trump’s poll numbers go south. They kick in with ‘Democratic cities are in chaos right now. Is this what you want from Joe Biden?’ And ‘they’re gonna take your country away,’ and ‘they’re taking down the statues,’ and ‘crime is rising. Oh my gosh, it’s so bad,’” said Lemon regarding Trump’s speech. “Defunding police. And the people who you saw there, for the most part – not them specifically, I’m talking about as a whole – fall for it. They fall for it, and that’s why they do things like what they did. They want to paint over signs and they think it’s ‘our country,’ ‘this is the country that we built.’”
Lemon added that the rich diversity of American history shows that the country was built by people who were not fortunate enough to have statues dedicated to them, arguing that Barack Obama’s face on Mount Rushmore could help rectify that.
“Even though a rich diversity of people helped to build this country, and many of us, meaning our ancestors, for free — did not get paid for it, could not get an education, could not build wealth, are not on statues, Confederate or otherwise, are not on Mount Rushmore,” he said. “I think, listen … if they’re going to put someone on Mount Rushmore, considering the history of this country, the first black president should be front and center.”
Shortly after Lemon’s monologue, CNN host Chris Cuomo jumped into the fray to endorse the idea as being more palatable than destroying the Founding Fathers.
“Add to Mount Rushmore. I think … first of all, I think it’s a more salable idea than the idea of taking away Founding Fathers,” said Cuomo.
“So, what’s wrong with all of us together thinking or reshaping our country so that more people – rethinking our country in the way we think and where our priorities are so that this country belongs to everyone,” Lemon later added.
“Nothing’s wrong with it,” Cuomo responded.
Lemon then brought up the idea that Mount Rushmore is on “stolen land,” and that even an addition to the monument might still be offensive to Native Americans.
“Maybe some of the people up there on Mount Rushmore, who knows? … The name shouldn’t be Mount Rushmore if you talk to Native Americans. They say it is stolen land. It was only Mount Rushmore 40 years before they started to carve presidents’ faces in it. No one got any money for that,” he said.
“You’re totally right. I think the premise is where we’re gonna have to work towards, which is, if we all decide. It’s about consensus and collective consciousness,” Cuomo concluded.