Donald Trump floated the idea of one day appearing on Mount Rushmore at a rally on Tuesday evening. He insisted he was only joking then tore into the "fake news media" in anticipation of the coverage his remark might foster.
The US President was speaking in Ohio when he told a crowd of supporters that "every president on Mount Rushmore believed in protecting American industry."
Trump continued: "Every single president on Mount Rushmore. Now here's what I do, I'd ask whether or not you think I will one day be on Mount Rushmore."
The crowd clapped and cheered as their president immediately explained why he would never say such a thing.
"But here's the problem: If I did it joking, totally joking, having fun, the fake news media will say 'he believes he should be on Mount Rushmore.' So I won't say it all right?"
This triggered a chorus of boos from attendees at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, who seemed to be under the impression that the "fake news media" had already filed the story.
Ohio is situated in the so-called American rust belt where a once-proud manufacturing sector has been in marked decline for decades.
"We have to protect our industry," Trump said. "And now we are going to start. We are reclaiming our heritage as a manufacturing nation again."
Trump spoke for around an hour at the event in a free-wheeling performance reminiscent of his 2016 presidential campaign trail.
"I'm here this evening to cut through the fake-news filter and speak straight to the American people," he said, according to Fox News.
The president had reason to celebrate last night the Senate voted 51-50 to start a debate on repealing ObamaCare legislation.
"We're now one step closer to liberating citizens from this ObamaCare nightmare and delivering great health care for the American people," he told the crowds.
"Any senator who votes against repeal and replace is telling America that they are fine with the ObamaCare nightmare, and I predict they'll have a lot of problems," he added.
Mount Rushmore features four United States presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.