Mt. Rushmore is Only a Trump l’oeil – So Far 

The former president’s perverse trompe l’oeil fantasies include adding his face to Mt. Rushmore.

When I recently read that the Former floated the hallucination in 2020, during a pre-election visit to Mt. Rushmore, of adding his face to those of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, it occurred to me that his proposal was an inverse form of “cancel culture.”

Mt. Rushmore with trump
Screengrab from Truth Social.

Such a desecration would be the topsy-turvy equivalent of adding the fused profiles of Chiefs Iron Tale, Two Moons, and John Big Tree (Gold American Buffalo Nickel) on the marquees of Trumps’ hotels and golf courses on former sacred Native American land (ones not in bankruptcy courts).

Or, if one didn’t want to offend the descendants of the first Americans by such an association, another possibility might be to impose the image of Anne Frank on the mug shots of those all too few arrested white supremacist torchbearers who chanted “Jews will not replace us!” on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

To add Trump’s lineaments to Mt. Rushmore would serve aptly to enlarge his diminished stature as a twice loser of the popular vote, Grifter in Chief, and draft-dodger, for starters, so there’s something to be said for his grandiose delusion.

His perverse trompe l’oeil fantasy of “cancel-emendation culture” suggests placing images and artifacts that signify compassion and egalitarianism next to ones that represent the misuses of profit and power.

Imagine a billboard near Mar-a-Lago of a Shelter for Abused Women and the Homeless. The opulence of the Former’s faux palace, a pink imitation of Windsor Castle, might call into question excessive luxury for a few when many could benefit from sharing a modicum of untaxed wealth.

Consider, if only as a thought-experiment (apologies to Einstein), a basketball court with cracked surfaces, torn nets, and surrounded by overgrown tumbleweed built adjacent to the entrance of the 1.3 billion AT&T Stadium (Super Dome) in Arlington, Texas)!

Instead of rejecting out of hand the Former’s mirage of ad-facing Mt. Rushmore, I would suggest the addition of a footnote the size of a 3×5 graphite headstone at the base of Lincoln’s image: “Sorry, no vacancies, try an ad in the New York Post.”

To be fair to Mr. Trump, he may deserve a monument, but, if so, it should be one in Red or Tiananmen Square, the courtyard of Kim Jong-un’s Palace with its alleged harem in Pyongyang, North Korea, or Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Berlin where it was removed in a dumpster but, he hopes, may be returned by Neo-Nazi enthusiasts.

If Mr. Trump is fortunate, a photo of him behind bars won’t become a Forever Stamp in the future with the words “No one is above the Law” emblazoned on it. If so, though, it might include an insert of FDR — “Who saved stamps and America!”

Howard R. Wolf is completing a book manuscript: Almost There…A Life in Words: Memoir, Criticism, Fiction. Special Collections in the Robert Frost Library, Amherst College, holds his life’s work. He was born a Liberal Democrat, but would vote without hesitation for a retro-Calvin Coolidge Republican in a race against any power-hungry Democrat. Character trumps politics (ouch!).

Howard R. Wolf
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