Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, opponents of Obama on climate and energy issues, thanked the president and applauded the name change.
“This is as good a signpost of what we’re dealing with on climate change as just about anything”, Obama told the reporters waiting on the outwash plain at the base of the glacier.
He also added that while McKinley lost his namesake in Alaska, the former President still has several things named after him in Ohio.
As reported in Talking Points Memo, he explained the reason that McKinley’s name has been linked to the highest peak in North America for over a century, stating, “McKinley served our country with distinction during the Civil War as a member of the Army”.
The President is in Alaska to talk about climate change this week, because, he says, the Arctic is “the leading indicator of what the climate faces”.
However, not all Republicans criticized Obama for changing the mountain’s name – especially those from Alaska, where “Mount McKinley” is viewed by some as a colonial slight against the native population. Sen.
Rep. Michael R. Turner, Republican of Ohio: “The president’s recent actions to remove his name and undermine a prior act of Congress is disrespectful, and I will continue to fight for proper recognition of President McKinley’s legacy”.
The change was made to coincide with President Obama’s trip to Alaska to address climate change on August 31.
With the United Nations summit in Paris later in the year looming, Mr. Obama will be hoping to garner support for his plan to introduce strict new rules pertaining to carbon emissions from power plants.
By renaming the peak Denali, an Athabascan word meaning “the high one”, President Barack Obama waded into a sensitive and decades-old conflict between residents of Alaska and Ohio.
“I share people’s concerns about offshore drilling”.
William McKinley was a presidential candidate when a gold prospector suggested that an Alaskan mountain be named after the Niles native.
Melting sea ice and permafrost endanger Arctic communities with erosion and storms, and ocean acidification and climate-driven animal migration changes threaten indigenous people and local economies, he said.
Obama’s trip was more about visuals than words, and the White House has put a particular emphasis on trying to get the message across to audiences who don’t follow the news through traditional means. To that end, Obama taped an episode of the NBC reality TV show “Running Wild with Bear Grylls“, putting his survival skills to the test in the national park.