The White House announcement that Mt. McKinley in Alaska would be renamed with a stroke of a pen is not sitting well with one Alaskan native. Bristol Palin, daughter of former governor Sarah Palin, said the move doesn’t show that President Barack Obama cares about America’s most northern state.
“But renaming a mountain is not going to make up for all the other ways he has let down the Alaskan people,” Palin said in response to the news.
Obama made the announcement that the mountain, the highest in North America, would be renamed Denali (a Native American name) on the eve of his visit to the state to view the reported effects of climate change. Tribal populations have been pushing for the name change for decades. Palin said he could spend his time in the state in better ways.
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“Why doesn’t he check out our oil fields? Why doesn’t he open our pipeline so we can supply our own natural gas instead of buying it from our enemies in the Middle East… This is just a joke… The next election can’t come any sooner,” she wrote in a blog post.
Palin continued her fiery blast with her opinion that the president should be more worried about ISIS gaining control in the Middle East, about Pastor Saeed Abedini and other Americans being held as hostages in Iran and the problems the Iran nuclear deal will cause rather than renaming a mountain.
“He should be worrying about the economy, which still hasn’t fully recovered. You should be worrying about our broken immigration system,” Palin said.
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The renaming, officially done in a “Secretarial Order” by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, is not winning any love from those in Ohio, where President William McKinley was born, raised, and served as governor. Almost the entire Ohio congressional delegation, except Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan of the 13th district, sent a letter to the president protesting the decision and questioning its legality.
Rep. Bob Gibbs drafted the letter with House Speaker John Boehner and Reps. Jim Renacci and David Joyce signing onto it along with eight others. All those signing are Republicans.
Gibbs said the name changing overrode the Board of Geographic Names and ignored pending House legislation to keep the mountain’s name as Mt. McKinley, according to a press release from Gibbs’ office.
While it may take the faith of a mustard seed to move a mountain, Gibbs said it takes an act of Congress to change its name.
“I object to this change because of the separation of powers issue this action raises, as it was an Act of Congress that named Mount McKinley. This letter requests the President delay any action in changing the mountain’s name until the administration can answer the questions asked,” Gibbs said.
It was an act of Congress in 1917 that created Mount McKinley National Park. Gibbs said the Board of Geographic Names, by its own policy, will not consider petitions for name changes if there is pending Congressional legislation on the matter. Gibbs introduced a bill, H.R. 437, in January to keep the Mount McKinley name.
The mountain was named after President William McKinley, who was the 25th president and 39th Ohio governor. McKinley, a Republican from Niles, Ohio, was elected to the presidency in 1896 with the largest victory seen in 25 years. He won a wide margin of the popular vote – 600,000 votes – and won over 30 percent more electoral votes than his opponent.
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McKinley was re-elected in 1900. An unemployed mill worker assassinated McKinley in 1901 while the president was standing in a receiving line at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. McKinley was taken to a hospital where doctors thought he would recover; but gangrene set in, and the president died eight days later.
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