Right-Wing Media Indignant Over Mount McKinley Being Renamed Denali

Conservative media are outraged by President Obama's decision to restore the name of Alaska's Mount McKinley to Denali, the name used by Alaska Natives, lamenting the move and calling it an “executive power grab.”

Mount McKinley Renamed Back To Traditional Alaskan Name, Denali

White House Announces Decision To Rename Mount McKinley Denali. The White House announced on August 30 that President Obama is changing the name of Alaska's Mount McKinley to its traditional Alaska Native name, Denali. The mountain was formerly named after the assassinated 25th president, William McKinley, who had never been to Alaska. As reported by NPR:

Mount McKinley -- named after William McKinley, the 25th president, who served in the White House until his assassination in 1901 -- is returning to its traditional Alaska Native name, Denali.

Obama will make a public announcement of the name change in Anchorage Monday, during a three-day visit to Alaska.


A statement by the White House says the designation “recognizes the sacred status of Denali” to Alaska natives going back generations:

“In 1896, a prospector emerged from exploring the mountains of central Alaska and received news that William McKinley had been nominated as a candidate for President of the United States. In a show of support, the prospector declared the tallest peak of the Alaska Range as ” Mt. McKinley"--and the name stuck.

“McKinley became our 25th President, and was tragically assassinated just six months into his second term. But he never set foot in Alaska--and for centuries, the mountain that rises some 20,000 feet above sea level, the tallest on the North American continent, had been known by another name--Denali. Generally believed to be central to the Athabascan creation story, Denali is a site of significant cultural importance to many Alaska Natives. The name ” Denali" has been used for many years and is widely used across the state today." [NPR, 8/30/15]

Right-Wing Media React To The Name Change With Outrage

Breitbart News' Shapiro: “We Should Just Be Grateful Obama Didn't Decide To Rename Mt. McKinley Mt. Trayvon.” In an August 31 tweet, Breitbart News Editor-At-Large Ben Shapiro asserted that “we should just be grateful Obama didn't decide to rename Mt. McKinley Mt. Trayvon” :

[Twitter.com, 8/31/15]

Brietbart News' Pollak: Name Change Is An “Executive Power Grab.” Breitbart News Editor Joel Pollak criticized Obama's decision in a series of August 31 tweets, writing that it was evidence of “another executive power grab” and that the president was “reminding the American people” that he is “the Emperor” :

[Twitter.com, 8/31/15; 8/31/15]  

Fox's Van Susteren Questions Why Obama Isn't “Let[ting] The People Decide” Whether To Change Mount McKinley's Name. Responding to Obama's announcement that Mount McKinley would be renamed in an August 30 tweet, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren asked “why not let the people decide?” :

[Twitter.com, 8/30/15]

David Limbaugh: Renaming Mount McKinley Is Just “Stirring Things Up.” Conservative commentator David Limbaugh responded to Obama's decision to change Mount McKinley's name to Denali by tweeting that Obama was “always stirring things up” :

[Twitter.com, 8/30/15]

Bryan Fischer: Obama Renaming Mount McKinley Because He Thinks “America [Is] Bad.” Radio Host Bryan Fischer responded to the announcement in an August 31 tweet by writing that Obama was renaming the mountain because he thinks “America bad, everybody else, good” :

[Twitter.com, 8/31/15]

Hot Air: Name Change A “Capricious Use Of Executive Power.”  An August 31 post on Hot Air criticized the renaming of Alaska's Mount McKinley to Denali, accusing Obama of wanting “a cheap win before heading out to Alaska,” and going on to call it “an arbitrary and capricious use of executive power in pursuit of a petty end” :  

Obama apparently wanted a cheap win before heading out to Alaska. It's a curious political choice to pander to Alaskans while irritating voters in Ohio, though, where William McKinley's political career started.


There are two valid objections to this act. First, it's an arbitrary and capricious use of executive power in pursuit of a petty end. The federal government controls vast swaths of Alaska land, and Congress should exercise joint authority over it with the executive branch. We seem to be getting farther and farther from that concept. This may be a comparatively minor and frivolous example of that problem, but in one way that makes this even worse. One might understand an executive overstep in an emergency or to secure the nation, but .... renaming a mountain? [Hot Air, 8/31/15]