South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem slammed President Biden on Tuesday after his administration unveiled plans to host an Independence Day fireworks display at the White House, weeks after federal officials rejected her bid to host a similar event at Mount Rushmore.
In response to the White House's announcement, Noem said that South Dakota planned to resubmit its petition to host an event at Mount Rushmore on July 3. The National Parks Service initially rejected the state’s application in March, citing wildfire risks, pandemic-related safety concerns and objections from local Native American tribes
"What a hypocrite. President @JoeBiden wants "a summer of freedom" where we "mark independence from the virus by celebrating with events across the country," Noem wrote on her official Twitter account. "Translation: fireworks are fine at the White House, but not at Mount Rushmore."
The White House said it would host an event with essential workers and military service members on July 4th to celebrate progress in the nationwide vaccination campaign and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1,000 guests are expected to attend the event, which will include a cookout on the White House’s South Lawn and fireworks over the National Mall.
The Biden administration encouraged state and local officials to share details of their own planned celebrations.
"We welcome you to join us by hosting your own events to honor our freedom, salute those who have been serving on the frontlines, and celebrate our progress in fighting this pandemic," the White House said in an email.
The firework display at Mount Rushmore was reinstituted last year under the Trump administration. Prior to last year’s show, the display was last held in 2009, when it was discontinued due to environmental concerns.
Noem launched an unsuccessful legal challenge in a bid to reverse the National Parks Service’s rejection of the permit request. A federal judge rejected the challenge, ruling officials were justified in their decision.
The South Dakota governor previously indicated that the state would attempt to hold a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore next year. It's unclear if the state would have adequate time to prepare for a display even if it were approved.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.