Noem comments at Trump rally spark internal GOP strife
For the first time in years, cracks appear among Republican top elected officials as Noem curries favor with Trump
Gov. Kristi Noem’s criticism of her fellow elected Republicans during her introduction of former President Donald Trump in Rapid City on Sept. 8 broke more than two decades of protocol among the state’s top elected Republicans.
Noem criticized Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds, as well as Rep. Dusty Johnson, for not attending what was billed as a “unity event” and fundraiser for the South Dakota Republican Party. The governor criticized the delegation for not paying proper respect to Trump, who enjoys a commanding lead to win the GOP nomination for president in next year’s election.
Though she didn’t name members of the delegation by name, a person would have to be “dense” not to realize she was referring to Thune, Rounds and Johnson, says Jon Schaff, a professor of government at Northern State University.
The public rebuke breaks years of peace among South Dakota’s four top elected Republican officials, and Noem’s comments, while brief, raised eyebrows among longtime political observers in the state.
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