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Biden cancels Trump's plans for National Garden of American Heroes

U.S. President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020. |

President Joe Biden recently rescinded several of former President Donald Trump’s executive orders, one of which called for the creation of a National Garden of American Heroes.

In an executive order announced by the White House Friday, Biden revoked several executive orders signed by his predecessor, including Executive Order 13934, which Trump signed on July 3, 2020. Executive Order 13934, which called for “Building and Rebuilding Monuments for American Heroes,” authorized the creation of a National Garden of American Heroes to “depict historically significant Americans … who have contributed positively to America throughout our history.”

Then-President Trump discussed the National Garden of American Heroes in a July 4 speech given at Mount Rushmore last year. According to the executive order, Americans that would have been honored in the garden included former U.S. Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, Ronald Reagan and George Washington, along with the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, civil rights leaders Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and the late televangelist Billy Graham.

“The National Garden should be opened for public access prior to the 250th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 2026,” the order stated. Two days before leaving office, Trump signed another executive order significantly expanding the list of Americans slated to be honored in the Garden of Heroes.

One of the individuals included in the Jan. 18 executive order was Nellie Gray, a pro-life activist and the founder of the annual March for Life held on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide. While the expanded list of Americans tapped for inclusion in the garden featured beloved conservative figures such as William F. Buckley Jr., President Calvin Coolidge, Barry Goldwater, Gray, Scalia, and Reagan, it also featured revered liberal figures.

Long-serving Sen. Daniel Inuoye, D-Hawaii, civil rights leader and congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall, as well as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt were among the Americans that the Garden of Heroes would have honored. Popular entertainers such as Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Bob Hope, Whitney Houston, Elvis Presley, Shirley Temple, Alex Trebek and John Wayne also made the list.

In his Jan. 18 executive order, as well as his Mount Rushmore speech announcing the creation of the Garden of Heroes, Trump noted that the U.S. was facing a “dangerous anti-American extremism that seeks to dismantle our country’s history, institutions, and very identity.”

Highlighting how “the heroes of 1776 have been desecrated, with statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin vandalized and toppled,” the former president pointed to the Garden of Heroes as “America’s answer to this reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values, and our entire way of life.”

Citing past incidents where “patriots have built, rebuilt, and lifted up” after “the forces of anti-Americanism have sought to burn, tear down, and destroy,” Trump characterized his envisioned National Garden as an appropriate response to “the tragic toppling of monuments to our founding generation and the giants of our past” and a “new national project for their restoration, veneration, and celebration.”

Biden’s executive order also reversed Trump’s second executive order regarding the creation of the National Garden.

In addition to reversing the former president’s plans to build the National Garden, Biden’s executive order took aim at a number of other Trump executive orders, including Executive Order 13925, aimed at “preventing online censorship” and Executive Order 13933, designed to protect “American monuments, memorials, and statues” while “combating recent criminal violence.”

Additional Trump-era actions targeted for reversal by Biden included an executive order “rebranding United States foreign assistance to advance American influence,” and an executive order “protecting Americans from overcriminalization through regulatory reform.”

Biden’s executive order is the latest example of the president working to undo actions and policies embraced by his predecessor.

Shortly after taking office, the president rescinded the Mexico City Policy, which prevents the use of taxpayer dollars to promote abortion overseas. Additionally, Biden has reversed a Trump-era policy preventing American embassies from flying the LGBT pride flag alongside the American flag, eliminated a Trump-era ban on fetal tissue research and dissolving a commission created by Trump to advance “patriotic education.”

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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