- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Almost a year ago, then-President Trump was standing before Mount Rushmore, celebrating Independence Day and the great state of South Dakota with a crowd of 7,500 people, complete with an uplifting and unabashed speech.

“Every American patriot should be filled with joy because each of you lives in the most magnificent country in the history of the world,” Mr. Trump said at the time.

But there’s no observance and no speech this year. The hallowed and historic site is off limits for an Independence Day celebration in 2021.

On March 12, the National Park Service turned down a formal request from the state of South Dakota to repeat the patriotic festivities, citing potential damages to the site itself, opposition by American Indian tribes in the area and health risks from COVID-19. So far, the decision still stands, though South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem sued the federal parks agency in April.

“Despite the Biden Administration’s arbitrary and unlawful decision, we will continue fighting to once again return fireworks to Mount Rushmore,” the governor said after her request for a permit was denied on June 2.

Now fast-forward to a new public advisory from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs which this week encouraged Americans to celebrate with vigor on July Fourth.

“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 message advised.

“President Joe Biden wants ‘a summer of freedom’ where we ‘mark independence from the virus by celebrating with events across the country.’ Translation: fireworks are fine at the White House, but not at Mount Rushmore,” Ms. Noem tweeted in reply on Wednesday, noting that she planned to submit a permit application for an alternative celebration to take place at the site on July 3.

“I can’t believe they’re still denying us the opportunity to have our own celebration when they’re basically directing all states, communities, and tribes to hold celebrations, with pomp and circumstance. The fact that they’re not letting South Dakota have our fireworks at Mt. Rushmore is just political,” she noted.

Nervous about Biden’s spending

President Biden has envisioned spending trillions to shore up the economy, among other things. Not everyone is convinced that the plan is valid.

“A central economic criticism of Biden’s plans is that the spending will lead to spiraling inflation. Most Americans express some level of concern that these plans could lead to inflation, including nearly half (47%) who are very concerned about this possibility and 24% who are somewhat concerned,” reports a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

“Those who are at least somewhat concerned about prices rising due to the proposed spending include majorities of Republicans (93%), independents (70%), and Democrats (55%),” the poll analysis said.

“About 1 in 5 (19%) Americans say middle-class families have benefited from Biden’s policies a lot and another 32% say they have benefited a little, while 36% say the middle class have not benefited at all. These results are less positive than when Biden first took office,” the analysis said.

Standing up for Youngkin

The gubernatorial race in the Commonwealth of Virginia is close. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe currently has 46% of support while Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin is within striking distance at 42% — this according to a JMC Analytics and Polling survey of 550 likely Virginia voters conducted June 9-12.

It’s a statistical lead for the Democratic incumbent — “but it’s not a secure lead,” the pollster said.

Mr. Youngkin has received some unique support. Three former Virginia governors — Bob McDonnell, George Allen, and Jim Gilmore — declared their allegiance to the candidate, calling him a “political outsider, problem solver, and new kind of leader.”

Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas, Larry Hogan of Maryland, Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Bill Lee of Tennessee and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley have also stepped forward to enthusiastically endorse the candidate. Here’s just one example:

“Glenn Youngkin will make an outstanding governor of Virginia and I’m proud to support his candidacy. Glenn understands the challenges and opportunities facing Virginia require innovative and fresh solutions, not the tired rehash of politics as usual,” said Mr. Abbott.

Ronna’s Helpful Podcast

She’s pushing back at the media: Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has launched “Real America,” a new podcast focused on authentic conservative policy, heartland audiences and GOP commentary overlooked or ignored by much of the news media.

“America is an amazing country filled with wonderful people who do incredible things, but too often the media and liberal politicians ignore big parts of our nation and the people who make it work,” Ms. McDaniel said in a video introduction to the series that debuted Wednesday.

“I’m thrilled to speak with these amazing leaders and policymakers in our party who solve real problems every day, and help spread their message far and wide,” she said.

Episodes will be available on podcast streaming services, including Apple, Spotify and Amazon Music. Check Gop.com/podcast for more information.

Poll du jour

• 73% of Republicans agree that local news outlets and conservative media need to be able to unite “to better negotiate a fair deal with Big Tech.”

• 70% agree that Big Tech will take advantage of these news sources if they are forced to cut a deal “one-on-one.”

• 57% of Republicans support the bipartisan Journalism Competition and Preservation Act that allows news publishers to band together to collectively negotiate better terms for use of their content by Big Tech, notably Google and Facebook.

• 57% of Republicans say Congress should pass the proposal.

• 17% say Congress should keep the law as it is, which would require each individual news outlet to strike deals with Big Tech on their own.

• 25% are unsure about the issue.

Source: A News Alliance/Echelon Insights poll of 956 Republican voters conducted June 4-8.

Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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