Ohio lawmakers are accusing President Obama’s administration of “tarnishing” the legacy of President McKinley with “a political stunt to promote a partisan agenda.”
In a letter this week to the president, the state’s GOP delegation, including House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Rob Portman, told Obama he was acting “against the will of Congress” in unilaterally changing the name of Mount McKinley to the Alaskan Native name, Denali, before his trip to Alaska.
“This unilateral action is troubling to many Americans as this honor speaks volumes of respecting our nation’s heroes and their patriotic work to better our nation,” the lawmakers wrote, asking that he “elaborate” on how Interior Secretary Sally Jewell used a 1947 law that allows the administration to change geographic names if Congress doesn’t act within a reasonable time.
“What other monuments, memorials, post offices, and federal highways has the administration acted unilaterally to change without Congressional approval or input from the Board on Geographic Names? … Your administration has shown a troubling lack of respect for the rule of law and the separation of powers between the branches of our federal government.”
They asked for a reply by Sept. 11 and an “immediate stay of action” on the Aug. 28 order to rename the peak.
Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), one of the letter’s signatories, called the mountain renaming “disrespectful to the legacy of President McKinley, our 25th President, 39th Governor of Ohio and an officer in the Civil War.”
“I object to this change because of the separation of powers issue this action raises, as it was an Act of Congress that named Mount McKinley,” Gibbs said. “This letter requests the president delay any action in changing the mountain’s name until the administration can answer the questions asked.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, while not on the congressional letter, told Fox this week that he doesn’t know “why after 100 years why we are changing the name of a mountain.”
“The fact is, is that somebody once saw that mountain and they named it after McKinley over 100 years ago and we ought to just keep the name,” Kasich said. “This is just — I don’t know I guess another part of — maybe, you know, reinventing history or something. Keep it McKinley, that’s what I say.”