Kristi Noem rigidly follows Trump strategy of denial as Covid ravages South Dakota

  
Via:  Bob Nelson  •  2 weeks ago  •  26 comments

By:   edpilkington (the Guardian)

Kristi Noem rigidly follows Trump strategy of denial as Covid ravages South Dakota



Republican governor clings to the president despite his defeat and claims
'we're doing really good' with state's positivity rate at 60%

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original


"Who you gonna believe?

The Anointed Prophet of God

or your own stupid eyes?"



S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



original Kristi Noem and Donald Trump at the White House on 16 December 2019 in Washington DC.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Kristi Noem, the Republican governor of South Dakota , tells a story about the first time she met Donald Trump. He welcomed her to the Oval Office, and after they shook hands she returned the compliment by inviting him to visit her back in her home state.

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"We have Mount Rushmore," she said, hoping he would be tempted by a trip to the famous rock sculpture depicting four of his presidential predecessors. Trump replied: "Do you know, it's my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?"

"I started laughing," Noem recalls. "He wasn't laughing, so he was totally serious."

Noem, 48, is savvy enough to know when to humor a potential patron. In July, Trump did make the trip to Mount Rushmore on 4 July for an Independence Day fireworks display. To mark the occasion, she presented him with a four-foot model of the granite monument complete with the addition of a fifth president - Trump.

Having lost to Joe Biden in the election, Donald Trump has as much chance of being carved next to Abraham Lincoln on Mount Rushmore as Donald Duck. But since Trump's defeat, Noem has still clung to the president and to his policies as though her political life depends on it.

The actual lives of many South Dakotans could depend, in turn, upon that decision given the terrifying surge of Covid-19 cases that is battering the state under Noem's contentious leadership. South Dakota has been listed by Forbes as one of the 10 most dangerous states in the Union, all of them in the Midwest.

Coronavirus in South Dakota is running at an intensity only surpassed in the US by its neighbor North Dakota. The state has an alarming positivity rate of almost 60% - nearly six out of 10 people who take a Covid test are infected - second only to another neighbor, Wyoming.

Viewed through the lens of cases and deaths, South Dakota is also at the top of the league table. More than 66,000 South Dakotans have contracted the disease and at least 644 have died, a number likely to rise as hospitals reach breaking point.

Amid this devastating contagion, Noem is rigidly sticking to the strategy she has adopted since the pandemic began. It consists of a refusal to accept mask mandates and repeated denial of the science around the efficacy of wearing masks; resistance to imposing any restrictions on bars and restaurants; no limits on gatherings in churches or other places of worship; and no orders to stay at home.

While the statistics are clear - the virus is running wild in South Dakota - Noem has turned a public health emergency into an issue of "freedom" and "liberty", consistently lying about the trajectory of the disease under her watch. "We're doing really good in South Dakota. We're managing Covid-19," she has said.

She has also embraced the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid, even after it was proven to be ineffective and potentially dangerous.

If all of this sounds familiar, that's because it is. Since the start of the pandemic, Noem has consciously adopted the posture of a mini-Trump, following the president's every move in the handling of the health crisis.

"From the get-go, her approach was mirroring the Trump administration," said Lisa Hager, a political scientist at South Dakota State University. "She's been adamant about people making their own choices and that it's not the government's role to step in - and it has played very well for her in her political career."

The more Noem championed the Trump line - downplaying the virus, turning her back on the science, failing to put in place even basic public health measures to contain the disease - the higher her star rose within the Republican firmament. One of her first acts as governor was to install a TV studio in her office for use in live interviews, a smart move given her frequent appearances in recent months on Fox News.

Her growing stature in Trump World attracted the attention last year of Corey Lewandowski, the pugnacious former campaign manager of Trump's first presidential campaign in 2016. Lewandowski took Noem under his wing and spirited her away on a whirlwind tour of Trump campaign events this year, introducing her to Maga supporters across the country.

"Lewandowski has been coaching her on how to foment conflict to get attention," said Cory Allen Heidelberger, who writes the liberal blog Dakota Free Press. "He tells her, conflict is attention, attention is influence - so just create conflict wherever you can."

Noem can certainly claim to be an A-grade student when it comes to generating conflict. The 4 July Mount Rushmore event was one of two huge public gatherings that she blessed against the advice of health experts.

The other was the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which Noem actively welcomed. The gathering attracted almost 500,000 people over 10 days and is now widely thought to have been the mother of all super-spreader events that helped trigger the Covid disaster that the midwest is now suffering.

Even as the crisis has exploded around her, she has stuck to her guns and led by her maskless example. Last week she attended a high school football championship in an indoor sports dome in which masks were required for everyone present - she violated the rule and went ostentatiously bare-faced.

There are two possible reasons why Noem continues to stick to Trump's Covid playbook, even after he was relegated into the position of a lame-duck president. Unlike other parts of the country, Trump's backing in South Dakota has remained steadfast since 2016 at 62% of the electorate, forcing her to remain on good terms with Trump supporters should she want to run for a second term as governor in two years' time.

A more likely explanation though lies with her growing national platform. Apart from cultivating her profile on Fox News and at Trump rallies around the country, Noem has surrounded herself with a coterie of staffers drawn from Beltway strategists and lobbyists.

"The reason you do that has nothing to do with governing South Dakota," Heidelberger said. "She's completely focused on the national scene."

Trump himself will be turfed out of the White House - quite possibly, kicking and screaming - on 20 January. But Trumpism will remain alive and well in its redoubt in South Dakota, while the pandemic rages furiously around its governor's serene and maskless head.


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Bob Nelson
1  seeder  Bob Nelson    2 weeks ago

South Dakota is a disaster zone:

original

South Dakotans are dying for no good reason, but they abandon neither Noem nor Trump. Do we need anything more, before concluding definitively that Trumpism is a religious sect?

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
1.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    2 weeks ago

Look, listen, and learn from Birx and her display board......................

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1    2 weeks ago

What? It's colder in South Dakota than anywhere else in the USA?

Jeez, Jim!!

Wake the fuck UP!

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
1.1.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.1    2 weeks ago

You wake the fuck up and look and the damned graphic she is displaying. It fucking isn't just South Dakota. She is getting the publicity because she is who she is............and the oft used but will not be forgotten any time soon "But Trump supporter".

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.3  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.2    2 weeks ago

Jim... Look at the graphic I posted above. I circled SD in red. SD is way, way off, with its catastrophic results. Can you deny what your own eyes see?

Noem says all is well. Does that bother you? 

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
1.1.4  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.3    2 weeks ago

I looked at your graphic. Now, looking at Dr. Birx's presentation, how do the rest of the ultra red areas of the northern and central plains compare? Without that comparison, your selective choice of SD and Ms. Noem is a bit disingenuous. Not overly but disingenuous nonetheless.

And all that says about South Dakota is that Birx may be correct and the citizens of SD don't care.........about themselves or others seemingly. And I must ask again, why in the hell do people wait for GovCo to tell them how to react in this day and age of the information highway?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.5  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.4    2 weeks ago
And all that says about South Dakota is that Birx may be correct and the citizens of SD don't care.........about themselves or others seemingly. 

I don't think it's that simple. I don't think most understand Covid. They've been told (by someone in whom they have absolute confidence) that Covid is a hoax... that Covid isn't really dangerous (hey! he got it and was healthy again in two weeks!)... NOT TO WORRY!

So those good folks in SD trust Donald Trump, and take no protective measures. The pandemic kills them. 

 
 
 
Dulay
1.1.6  Dulay  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.2    2 weeks ago

You said to listen to Dr. Brix yet the article proves that Noem refuses to do so. 

Even as the crisis has exploded around her, she has stuck to her guns and led by her maskless example. Last week she attended a high school football championship in an indoor sports dome in which masks were required for everyone present - she violated the rule and went ostentatiously bare-faced.
 
 
 
Dulay
1.1.7  Dulay  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.4    2 weeks ago
Without that comparison, your selective choice of SD and Ms. Noem is a bit disingenuous. Not overly but disingenuous nonetheless.

Actually Jim, Bob's graphic illustrates a much clearer comparison of the central plains states that the giant blotch of red on Brix's graphic.

If you can't acknowledge that SD is in a demonstrably worse world of hurt, any pretense of discussion is moot. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.8  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Dulay @1.1.7    2 weeks ago
If you can't acknowledge that SD is in a demonstrably worse world of hurt, any pretense of discussion is moot.

Exactly. This level of denial renders conversation impossible.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
1.1.9  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Dulay @1.1.6    2 weeks ago

I said listen to Birx because she says the reason for the spikes is more time being spent indoors due to the cold snap. Nothing more. So how does the good Governor have the power to tell them “you people need to bundle up and just stay outside cuz you’re causing more sickness by being inside”.  THAT makes no sense. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.10  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.9    2 weeks ago
I said listen to Birx because she says...

I don't understand.

Do you listen only to people who tell you what you want to hear?

 
 
 
Dulay
1.1.11  Dulay  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.9    2 weeks ago
I said listen to Birx because she says the reason for the spikes is more time being spent indoors due to the cold snap. Nothing more.

Yes, I understand Jim. You want to hear what you want to hear and you want to ignore what you want to ignore. 

So how does the good Governor have the power to tell them “you people need to bundle up and just stay outside cuz you’re causing more sickness by being inside”.  THAT makes no sense. 

Well since your posit is fabricated, I'd say it's on you if it makes no sense. 

The FACT is, in the video YOU linked, Dr. Brix clearly stated that EVERYONE [that includes Noem] should be wearing a mask, social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene and LIMITING indoor gatherings.   

So YOU choose what YOU want to 'listen to' and I will choose what I want to listen to. 

 
 
 
Kavika
2  Kavika     2 weeks ago

What, me worry?  Photo taken September 5th, 2020.

512

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Kavika @2    2 weeks ago

She's got a great smile.......

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
3  Trout Giggles    2 weeks ago

Wait until she contracts it...then she'll change her tune...maybe. trmp never did

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Trout Giggles @3    2 weeks ago

I really wouldn't bet on it. If she dies, well... If she lives, she's a hero. There's no case in which she changes her tune.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

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She resembles Michelle Bachmann. No Minds must look alike. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
4.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  JohnRussell @4    2 weeks ago

She does. 

Scary, hmmm? 

 
 
 
Kavika
5  Kavika     2 weeks ago

The various tribes in South Dakota have locked down their reservations for months now. Noem said that they could not block public roads going through their reservations and treated to file suit and asked Trump to intercede. Reality hit home and she discovered that there is a federal court decision and treaties that cover that. 

She no longer is pushing it since she would lose any court case and prior to this she lost a number court cases vs Indian tribes.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
5.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Kavika @5    2 weeks ago

Since when do Native Americans have standing in federal courts? 

      jrSmiley_43_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Kavika
5.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Bob Nelson @5.1    2 weeks ago

I thought her complaint and threatened lawsuit regarding the roads through the reservations was beyond stupid at best since there was both legal president and a treaty outlining this. Her own party told her to stop this nonsense and she and the state of SD would lose if it went to court. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
5.1.2  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Kavika @5.1.1    2 weeks ago

As the article says, she's playing on a national stage. She cares as much about South Dakotans as Trump cares about Americans. 

 
 
 
MUVA
5.1.3  MUVA  replied to  Kavika @5.1.1    2 weeks ago

Who pays for these roads and maintains them and why if you don't get out of your car would you not be able to use them if just passing thru?

 
 
 
Dulay
5.1.4  Dulay  replied to  MUVA @5.1.3    2 weeks ago

How is one to find out if they intend to 'get out of your car' or not MUVA? Through osmosis? 

They have checkpoints, they question people, they actually caught a Covid case through checkpoint questioning. 

They are thankful that Noem DOESN'T have the authority to control their tribal government. They are doing a hell of a lot better job than Noem is in SD. 

The reservation has a 13.5% positivity rate, SD's is 56%

 
 
 
Kavika
5.1.5  Kavika   replied to  MUVA @5.1.3    2 weeks ago

Each reservation has checkpoints as pictured here. As Dulay stated the COVID rate is a much much much lower than SD positivity rate. 

cheyenneriversiouxtribe.jpg

Who pays for the roads irrelevant since the sovereignty rights of the tribe supersede who pays. You know it's one of the legal things that the ''law and order'' crowd is always bringing up. 

 
 
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