To Honor Native Americans, Obama Renamed The Nation’s Highest Mountain. These People Are Upset.


On Sunday, President Obama announced that he would restore the name of the nation’s tallest mountain, currently called Mount McKinley, to Denali. The move, which comes in advance of the President’s trip to Alaska, was described as a show of respect to Native Americans and the original name they gave to the peak.

The name of the mountain was officially changed from Denali to Mount McKinley in 1917, at the suggestion of a gold prospector. William McKinley, who never visited Alaska, was America’s 25th president. Naming the mountain after McKinley, seemingly at random, was viewed by many as an expression of cultural imperalism.

But not everyone was happy about the change back. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who represents the state where McKinley was born, said he was disappointed with the decision and blasted Obama for not deferring to Congress.

“This political stunt is insulting to all Ohioans,” said Bob Gibbs, Congressman from Ohio. Gibbs also called the move unconstitutional and an effort to “ignore an act of Congress… to promote [Obama’s] job killing war on energy.” (In his upcoming trip to Alaska, Obama will also discuss climate change.)


The sentiment was echoed by House Speaker John Boehner, also of Ohio, who said he was “deeply disappointed in this decision.”

Keith Urbahn, former Chief of Staff to Donald Rumsfeld, was also not a fan:

Conservative columnist Andrew Malcolm put a finer point on it:

Republican political consultant Derek Ryan agreed:

Karl Rove also criticized the move, saying that “the 25th president gets overlooked too much already.” Rove is actually writing a book on William McKinley, which he’s hoping someone will now read:

The positioning of Obama’s decision as a partisan political move is particularly odd. The renaming of the mountain Denali was praised effusively by Alaska’s Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski.

For centuries, Alaskans have known this majestic mountain as the ‘Great One.’ Today we are honored to be able to…

Posted by Lisa Murkowski on Sunday, August 30, 2015

Obama’s decision was also supported by Alaska’s Republican Governor, Bill Walker. In her farewell address to Alaska in 2009, Sarah Palin referred to the mountain as Denali.


Donald Trump is also not happy: