Criticizing President Barack Obama’s decision to use his executive power to rename Mount McKinley, Donald Trump this week vowed to build a newer and bigger version of the tallest mountain in North America and christen it with the surname of the U.S.’s 25th president.
“The silent majority is back, and now, with my help, we’re going to take our mountain’s name back,” Mr. Trump declared.
The real estate mogul and reality television star who has taken center stage in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, insists that his Mount McKinley - which will be situated directly east of the mountain that formerly bore that name - will come in “under budget, ahead of schedule, and tower over Denali.” And no rapists and criminals, Mr. Trump promised, would be able to ascend to its summit illegally.
“Nobody – not even McKinley - is getting to the top of the mountain without my say so,” Mr. Trump told “Meet the Press.” “Believe me.”
While downplaying the accomplishments of William McKinley, the mountain’s namesake, accusing him of being “soft on immigration” and describing the celebrated Civil War veteran and political pioneer as “a clown” and “a joke,” Mr. Trump nevertheless attached great importance to his own mission in Alaska.
“We can’t be great if we don’t have a great Mount McKinley,” he said.
For his Mount McKinley, Mr. Trump envisions a peak reaching 23,500 feet - or some 3,000 feet higher than original mountain – with a summit featuring an atrium with golden mirrors, Gucci logos, bronze-and-obsidian-glass doors, and an 80-foot waterfall. Tourists at the high-end mountaintop will be able to purchase Trump Collection silk ties and matching shirts, or Empire and Success colognes, $15 “Make America Great Again” T-shirts and box sets of “The Apprentice.”
“There are different sections, this is just one section,” he said. “By the way, the mountain will save taxpayers a tremendous amount of money.”
The front-running candidate acknowledged that it felt a bit awkward to put his business and political muscle - and billions of dollars of other people’s money - behind a grand project that did not bear the imprimatur of the Trump name.
But in a compromise he worked out with himself, Mr. Trump said he will maintain the McKinley name on the newest highest North American peak while affixing the Trump name to the national park surrounding the new and old mountains, currently known as Denali National Park and Preserve.
Mr. Trump promised to begin the project as soon as his recently released book - ‘’Trump: Surviving at the Top’’ – has been updated with a new chapter on his mountain-building effort
Dismissing a long list of critics — including Jeb Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Macy’s — and mockingly congratulating the president for “locking up the Alaska Native vote” by restoring the Denali name to the mountain, a designation with deep cultural significance, Mr. Trump said he was simply trying to draw attention to an issue that “weak and physically unfit” politicians were afraid to address.
At another point during his press conference on Tuesday, Mr. Trump wondered aloud if the president shouldn’t have to produce the mountain’s birth certificate before going forward and renaming it.
“That’s how we do things in America – or it at least that’s how we will be doing them when I am president,” he said.
Mr. Trump said he was the only presidential candidate out there with a plan to restore Mount McKinley to it’s rightful place as America’s most prestigious mountain, and he expected his showing in polls to “go up 10 or 15 percent” once he goes forward with the project.
“This is going to be the most beautiful mountain in the world,” he said. “The Athabascan people of Alaska are going to love me. They already love me.”
As he had earlier in the week, Mr. Trump appeared at a Mount McKinley unfundraising event in New York with House Speaker John Boehner, who, like President McKinley, hails from Ohio.
Mr. Boehner was trotted out in front of the cameras and the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue to reluctantly share a story about the historical significance of the McKinley name, his deep disappointment in the president’s renaming decision, and his heartfelt support for Mr. Trump’s mountain project.
After thanking Mr. Boehner for his service, Mr. Trump concluded the press conference by directing a parting shot at Mr. Obama.
“The president,” he said, “should know that when he oversteps his authority, I’m going to step in.”

Philip Maddocks writes a weekly satirical column. He can be reached at pmaddocks@wickedlocal.com.