South Dakota has suffered more than the vast majority of states since the coronavirus pandemic broke out. Despite being one of the least populous states in the country, its Covid-19 death rate per capita is that eighth highest in the nation. The per capita fall rate is even worse: number two in the United States to neighboring North Dakota.
Only someone who is purposely ignorant or creepily dishonest would suggest that South Dakota is a pandemic success story.
Meet Kristi Noem. She is the Republican governor of Mount Rushmore State and an increasingly serious candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination – if Donald Trump avoids her. Both Noem and Trump appeared on the Conservative Political Action Conference 2021 in Florida last weekend. The former president received the greatest attention for his aggressively combative and rigorously anti-factual address. However, it was Noem who gave the most dangerous delusional speech at a conference where these goods were abundant.
The South Dakotan turned its hubris to overdrive and announcedWithout a hint of irony, when Covid-19 swept the Great Plains, “my government defied calls for virus control at the expense of everything else.”
Seriously. The 49-year-old governor made her appeal to the people she hoped would see president – if not in 2024, then in 2028 – for claims that South Dakota had responded correctly to the pandemic. And the CPAC crowd ate it up. Fox News greeted them as “Breakout star“The annual gathering where she finished behind Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Straw polls but well ahead of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and other GOP prospects.
Win over people
Posing as an advocate of profit over people, Noem envisioned Trump’s America as a kind of economic nirvana before March 2020 when “a tragic nationwide shutdown” ruined everything. Well, almost everything. Because in Noem’s absurd reinterpretation of the pandemic year, she emerges as a heroine – a little bit George Washington, a little bit Ronald Reagan – who stood between the graves of her compatriots from South Dakotan and defended the business as usual.
“Now most governors are closing their states” said Noem.