President Trump asked Alaska’s two Republican senators what they thought about reversing former President Barack Obama’s 2015 executive decision changing the name of the tallest mountain in North America from Mount McKinley to Denali – and both asked him not to do it.
That’s according to Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, who revealed the story about Trump’s conversation in March with him, fellow Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about the name change.
“He looked at me and said, ‘I heard that the big mountain in Alaska also had – also its name was changed by executive action. Do you want us to reverse that?'” Sullivan recalled Saturday, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.
Sullivan said he and Murkowski “jumped over the desk, we said, ‘No! No. Don’t want to reverse that.'” He also said he told the president that Denali is the name given to the mountain by the Athabascans more than 10,000 years ago and his wife is Athabascan.
“So he’s like, ‘all right, we won’t do that,'” Sullivan said.
But that was in March – months before Trump publicly tweeted that Murkowski “really let the Republicans, and our country, down” by voting against the Republican plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The president hasn’t signaled any plans since.
But during the presidential campaign, the president vowed to reverse Obama’s action on Denali.
“President Obama wants to change the name of Mt. McKinley to Denali after more than 100 years,” Trump tweeted in December 2015. “Great insult to Ohio. I will change back!”
Ohioans were outraged over Obama’s decision because the mountain was named for former President William McKinley, the state’s former governor, in 1986. He was assassinated in Buffalo, New York, in 1901.
Denali is the Athabascan word for “the high one.” The Obama administration said it was renaming Mount McKinley “in recognition of the traditions of Alaska Natives.”