Little question: How exactly does one get a face added to Mount Rushmore? That was a White House aide's query to the office of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem last year, a Republican official tells the New York Times. The question wasn't new—Trump had asked Noem about it when they first met—but the governor played to his interest when he arrived in Black Hills last month for an appearance before his chiseled predecessors. In greeting him, she presented four-foot replica of Mount Rushmore with a fifth face added: his own. Noem then joined him on Air Force One that evening after his speech, fueling rumors that she wanted to replace Mike Pence on the November ticket.
So she visited the White House three weeks later to meet with Pence and assure him she'd help in any way possible during the 2020 election—an indirect way of squelching the rumors, an official tells the Times. All this harks back to Noem's first meeting with Trump at the Oval Office: "He said, 'Kristi, come on over here. Shake my hand,'" Noem told the Arugus Leader in 2018. "I shook his hand, and I said, 'Mr. President, you should come to South Dakota sometime. We have Mount Rushmore.' And he goes, 'Do you know it's my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?'" Noem considered it a joke: "I started laughing. He wasn't laughing, so he was totally serious." Business Insider notes there's no stable rock left on Mount Rushmore for a fifth president. (Read more Mount Rushmore stories.)