CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago took to the airwaves on Friday to report on the president’s rally to mark Independence Day at the memorial later in the evening, putting heavy emphasis on its links to slavery and abuses of Native Americans while implying the site was chosen for those reasons.
“Kicking off the Independence Day weekend, President Trump will be at Mt. Rushmore, where he’ll be standing in front of a monument of two slave holders and on land wrestled away from Native Americans,” she said, noting Trump would focus on what he called “the effort to tear down our country’s history.”
While the broadcast was factually correct – former presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were indeed slave owners and the monument was built on land sacred to the Lakota – it stands in clear distinction to the network’s previous coverage of the memorial. When Vermont senator and two-time presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited the site in 2016, CNN called the massive stone carving “a monument to four great presidents,” describing how Sanders took in “the majesty of the moment” as he deemed the site an example of “our country at its best.”