Fact Check

Are There No Democrats on Mount Rushmore?

The monumental sculpture depicting four U.S. presidents was completed in 1941.

Published May 22, 2023

 (Getty Images/Stock Photo)
Image Via Getty Images/Stock Photo
There isn't a single Democrat represented on Mount Rushmore.

Of the four U.S. presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore, two were members of the Republican Party, one was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, and one had no party affiliation at all.

On May 22, 2023, the official Twitter account of the Republican Party tweeted that "There isn't a single Democrat on Mount Rushmore." 

That claim, with variant wordings, is often repeated on social media, including in meme form, such as this Twitter example posted in April 2023, which read "Ever wonder why there are no Democrats on Mount Rushmore? Ya, me neither...": 

The claim is true, though the implication that the absence of Democratic presidents is anything other than coincidental is purely partisan gamesmanship. 

The party affiliations of the four presidents represented on the monument are as follows: 

Two of the faces, Roosevelt's and Lincoln's, belong to members of the Republican Party. Another belongs to to Jefferson, who was in the Democratic-Republican Party (considered a forerunner of the Democratic Party), and the fourth belongs to Washington, who did not belong to a political party. 

According to the National Park Service, the presidents were selected by Mount Rushmore's chief sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, whose criteria were as follows: 

Borglum himself selected the presidents for the memorial, to reflect the nation's first 150 years of history and to make the project a national, rather than regional one.  Original plans included only George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Borglum picked George Washington the father of the new country because he was a leader in the American Revolution, the first president of the United States, and the man who laid the foundation of American democracy.  Abraham Lincoln was selected for preserving the Union during the Civil War and abolishment of slavery.  As the project progressed, Borglum added Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt.  Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, began America's westward expansion by purchasing the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, which doubled the size of the country, adding all or part of 15 present-day States. Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States and extremely popular in the early 20th century, linked the east and the west through the construction of the Panama Canal and was famous as a "trust buster," fighting large corporate monopolies and championing the working man. 

Mount Rushmore was completed in 1941, during the third term of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat. 

In previous articles, Snopes evaluated the claims that the history of Mount Rushmore was steeped in racism, that Donald Trump suggested his likeness be added to the monument, and that plans were made to add Barack Obama's likeness to it. 


"Abraham Lincoln." The White House, https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/abraham-lincoln/. Accessed 22 May 2023.

Memorial History - Mount Rushmore National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service). https://www.nps.gov/moru/learn/historyculture/memorial-history.htm. Accessed 22 May 2023.

Democratic-Republican Party | History & Ideology | Britannica. 30 Mar. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Democratic-Republican-Party.

Ibrahim, Nur. "A Meme About Mount Rushmore's Racist Past Went Viral. Here's What We Know." Snopes, 29 July 2020, https://www.snopes.com/news/2020/07/29/kkk-mount-rushmore/.

LaCapria, Kim. "Plan Launches to Make Obama Addition to Mount Rushmore." Snopes, 21 Apr. 2016, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/plan-launches-to-make-obama-addition-to-mount-rushmore/.

Mount Rushmore--Presidents: A Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary. https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/presidents/mount_rushmore.html. Accessed 22 May 2023.

Palma, Bethania. "Has Trump Suggested He Wants His Image on Mount Rushmore?" Snopes, 10 Aug. 2020, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-on-mount-rushmore/.

"Theodore Roosevelt." The White House, https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/theodore-roosevelt/. Accessed 22 May 2023.

What Political Party Did George Washington Belong to? | Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/question/What-political-party-did-George-Washington-belong-to. Accessed 22 May 2023.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.