Executive Power: President Obama Renames Mount McKinley Before Trip To Alaska

A climber stands on Windy Ridge, near the summit of Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park i
Mike Powell/Getty Images

As president Obama prepares his three-day trip to Alaska, he announced his intentions to rename Mount McKinley,the tallest mountain in North America, to “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,” the White House explained in a statement announcing Obama’s decision.

Obama’s Secretary of Interior Sally Jewel used her authority to rename the mountain as “Denali” as a result of Obama’s executive decision. Obama is traveling aboard Air Force One to Alaska today to announce his decision.

The issue has long been a topic of controversy in Congress, especially among Ohio representatives who supported the current name.

House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio congressman, issued a statement noting the he was “deeply disappointed in this decision.”

“There is a reason President McKinley’s name has served atop the highest peak in North America for more than 100 years, and that is because it is a testament to his great legacy,” Boehner said.

Representatives from Alaska have supported the name change. Both Sen. Dan Sullivan and Sen. Lisa Murkowski released statements thanking the president for making the decision.


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