President Trump's fondness for Mt. Rushmore is well known, so it's likely South Dakota Kristi Noem (R) scored some bonus points with the gift she gave the president when he came to her state to give an Independence Day speech in front of the monument in July.
Noem spoke highly of Trump when introducing him before the speech, comparing him to former President Theodore Roosevelt and describing him as a leader who "brave the dangers of the arena." In private, The New York Times reports, the flattery went a little further when Noem apparently greeted Trump with a four-foot replica of Mt. Rushmore, with a twist. In addition to the four U.S. presidents whose faces are actually carved into the mountainside — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Roosevelt — the replica reportedly included Trump's likeness. Trump, after all, had previously told Noem it was his dream to have his face up there.
Eventually, per the Times, word circulated around the Trump administration that Noem was ingratiating herself with Trump, leading to suspicions that she was seeking to supplant Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate in November. Noem reportedly flew to Washington, D.C., a couple of weeks later to meet with Pence and reportedly made it clear she was not after his job. Read more at The New York Times.