The decade's most triggering comedy
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) blasted Ben & Jerry’s anti-American 4th of July message and said the leadership of the company hasn’t studied its history enough.
On Independence Day, Ben & Jerry’s Twitter account posted a message pushing for the return of “stolen Indigenous land,” including Mount Rushmore, located in South Dakota, to Native American groups. Attached to the tweet was a company article that said Mount Rushmore should be returned first, linking to a petition to return the iconic American landmark. Governor Noem had other thoughts on the matter.
“I’m not going to listen to a bunch of liberal Vermont businessmen who think they know everything about this country and haven’t studied our history,” Noem told “Fox & Friends” Thursday. “Right now, Mount Rushmore is the greatest symbol of our freedom and history of the United States of America.”
The ice cream maker’s article, titled “The US Was Founded on Stolen Indigenous Land—This July 4, Let’s Commit to Returning It,” tries to persuade readers that Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills should be returned to the Lakota people, repeatedly claiming the United States “stole” the land. All the fun and festivities of the 4th of July, Ben & Jerry’s says, “distracts” from this claim.
This 4th of July, it's high time we recognize that the US exists on stolen Indigenous land and commit to returning it. Learn more and take action now: https://t.co/45smaBmORH pic.twitter.com/a6qp7LXUAE
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) July 4, 2023
The company also says the presidents whose faces adorn the rocks — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln — “actively worked to destroy Indigenous cultures and ways of life, to deny Indigenous people their basic rights.”
“We can learn from the men on that mountain,” Noem said. “We can do better. But, boy, they led us through some challenging times. And I think Americans in this country need some inspiration, and we can gain it from a monument like that.”
Noem said Americans should be proud of their country and “knock off” the claims Ben & Jerry’s is making, prompting host Brian Kilmeade to point out that Ben & Jerry’s is taking “advantage” of the country and its free enterprise system, all while strongly criticizing it.
Noem isn’t the only politician who has spoken out against the ice cream company. Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee questioned what the company was picturing when it said the U.S. should “return” the land. “Expungement of property rights? Repatriation of most Americans to Europe?” Lee asked.
In January, South Dakota Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson re-introduced the Mount Rushmore Protection Act, which would prevent Mount Rushmore from being renamed or destroyed amid protests and calls from Native Americans and activist groups. Sixteen other Republicans — and no Democrats — have co-sponsored the bill.
“Our nation’s history is not without its flaws, but there is no doubt the faces on Mount Rushmore represent democracy, freedom and the great American experiment,” Johnson said at the time.