SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A member of South Dakota’s House of Representatives District 1 went on a podcast recently and claimed that Mount Rushmore is a “freemason shrine” and a portal for demonic entities to enter and spread communism throughout the country. 

A clip from a Now Is The Time podcast episode with Joe Donnell, from Sisseton, went viral on Twitter recently. As of Tuesday, June 27, the tweet reached 558,8000 people and had over 500 comments, 968 retweets and 1,378 likes. 

“What the Lord has revealed to me is that Mount Rushmore has a direct ley line to Washington, DC.,” Donnell said in the podcast clip that was tweeted. “In order to understand the spiritual realm of what we’re facing, we have to realize that in order for the enemy to do anything, it needs the agreement of human beings. In order to be empowered to do more damage he needs the agreement of human beings and oftentimes that comes in the form of an altar that acts as a portal for other demonic things. What we’re really dealing with in that portal is communism.That witchcraft, altar, those things that are happening in the Black Hills, what we’re dealing with is communism. It’s the ideology and all the demonic entities and spirits behind that.”

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial said it would not respond to Donnell’s comments. 

Donnell is also a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe. The land that Mount Rushmore was built on is considered sacred to Native Americans. 

The podcast, titled “State Representative Joe Donnell From South Dakota Sharing Vital Info About Heavens Opening” was published to promote a religious event called “Open the Heavens: Let God Arise” in Rapid City. Donnell was listed as a guest speaker for the event. 

The organizer of the conference, Meri Crouley, is also the host of Now Is The Time podcast and interviewed with Donnell. Crouley’s podcast covers theories like the deep state, COVID-19 vaccines and former President Donald Trump’s indictment. 

An executive proclamation was signed by Gov. Kristi Noem that proclaimed June 3, 2023 as “Open the Heavens Day.” 

KELOLAND News reached out to Donnell for a comment and will update the story once we receive one. 

The South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Jennifer Slaight-Hansen sent a letter asking Gov. Noem to renounce the statements by Donnell.

“I have two questions: 1) is Governor Noem in agreement with Rep. Donnell’s statement that Mt. Rushmore is a portal that is spreading communism throughout America, and 2) if not, will she publicly repudiate him?,” Slaight-Hansen said in the letter. 

Donnell was elected during the general election in November 2022. He also ran for the District 1 Senate seat and lost in the Republican primary. The South Dakota Republican Party chose Donnell to replace Logan Manhart on the 2022 general election ballot for District 1 House after Manhart withdrew from the race. 

Donnell’s comments come to life after the National Park Services denied Gov. Noem’s request for fireworks at the memorial for a third year in a row due to objections from Native Americans who recognize the land as sacred to the Lakota Sioux tribe. 

Lakota people refer to the area in the Black Hills as “Paha Sapa,” or “the heart of everything that is.” 

In 2022, The chairman of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Harold Frazier spoke with KELOLAND News about tribal councils’ objections to fireworks at Mount Rushmore and mentioned the importance of the land. 

“It shouldn’t be disturbed in any way, you know, we love the peace and the tranquility of the Hills,” Frazier said. “I mean, many times we go out there for our prayers and for our medicines and things like that,” Frazier said.