GREENVILLE – Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem spoke to a packed ballroom at the Greenville Convention Center on Saturday, recounting her experience as a farmer before running for office and touting her state’s success through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In 2020, we learned that elections have consequences. I am so sorry about what your Governor put you through. And I’m going to help you get a new governor,” Noem said to applause.
During her roughly 30-minute speech, Noem talked about growing up farming and the unexpected death of her father, which left her to help run the family business.
She said it was then, learning about estate taxes, that she started focusing on tax policy and eventually a run for Congress in 2010.
Noem served in the U.S. House with many current North Carolina representatives, including U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, who Noem called, “the hardest-working representative in Washington.”
She also quipped about North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, saying, “you guys elect some great Representatives but terrible governors,” to strong applause from the crowd.
Noem then shifted her attention to former President Donald Trump, saying, “I love that man because he did everything he said he was going to do.” She served her last term in Congress during Trump’s first two years as president.
On the topic of COVID-19, Noem said she spent a lot of time studying and understanding what authority she had to use. Contrasting herself with other governors, Noem said, “We never closed a business, issued a shelter in place, or mask mandate.”
She added that she trusted the people of her state to take personal responsibility.
Noem also recounted that Dr. Anthony Fauci told her she needed 10,000 hospital beds on the worst day due to the virus, and told the crowd the highest single-day total ended up being 600 needing a bed.
“Fauci is wrong – a lot,” she said to wild applause in the room.
Also speaking at the luncheon were U.S. Reps. Dan Bishop (NC-09), David Rouzer (NC-07), Greg Murphy (NC-03), Richard Hudson (NC-08), and Foxx.
Former President Trump is expected to begin his speech around 7 p.m. Saturday evening.