On Monday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem defended her decision to not sign a popular bill in her state that would have banned transgender girls and women from participating in female sports.
The governor made her comments during a sometimes aggressive exchange with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, in which he accused Noem of caving to special interests at the expense of her constituents.
Tucker Carlson and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem debate her decision to send a bill to ban biological men from playing girls sports back to the state legislature:
TUCKER: "You caved to the NCAA."
GOV. NOEM: "Im not interested in picking a fight [in court] that we can’t win" pic.twitter.com/rgWAUIUcCh
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 23, 2021
Exchange Gets Heated Between Gov. Kristi Noem And Tucker Carlson
Carlson was on the offensive and Noem on the defensive right from the jump.
Carlson accused Noem that the bill almost passed with her support until “big business intercedes, [the] NCAA, Chamber of Commerce and Amazon and tell you not to sign it — and you change your mind.”
Noem replied, “Well, that’s not true, Tucker. I could sign the bill the way that it is today … but it wouldn’t solve the problem.”
Gov. Noem said she sent the bill back to the legislature and claimed she would still sign after certain revisions were made.
“This bill would only allow the NCAA to bully South Dakota,” Noem claimed. “And it would actually prevent women from being able to participate in collegiate sports. So what I have done is I have asked the legislature … to change the bill.”
Noem claimed the bill as it currently stands would allow the NCAA to take legal action against her state.
“We have had to fight hard to get any tournaments to come to South Dakota,” she said.
Noem continued, “When they took punitive action against us we would have to litigate, and legal scholars that I have been consulting with for many, many months say I would very likely lose those litigation efforts.”
Tucker Carlson is the best primetime cable news host because nobody on CNN or MSNBC would grill a Democrat in the same way he just did to Gov. Kristi Noem.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 23, 2021
Carlson To Noem: ‘And So You Are Caving To The NCAA?’
That is when Carlson interjected.
“Wait,” Carlson interrupted. “So you are saying the NCAA threatened you … they said ‘If you sign this, we won’t allow girls in South Dakota to play’ and you don’t think you can win in court — even though the public overwhelmingly supports you nationally?”
“And so you are caving to the NCAA?” Carlson asked.
Noem said Carlson’s framing was “completely wrong.”
“Listen, I’m sick and tired of the NCAA threatening states, challenging us and bullying us, so we are going to build a coalition of leaders, athletes and people who want to protect women’s sports,” Noem said.
The interview went on longer but needless to say, many on social media did not like what they were hearing from Gov. Noem.
Conservatives Weren’t Buying What Noem Was Selling
Many wondered if there were other reasons for her seemingly new position on this issue.
Mollie Hemingway, Senior Editor for The Federalist opined that there may be a conflict of interest going on in the Governor’s office:
Noem's "top advisor" is "controversial behind-the-scenes power broker" Matt McCaulley. Clients include Sanford Health, which owns Sanford Sports Complex, a Sioux Falls arena that hopes to lure NCAA tourneys. Lawmakers worried about conflict of interest. https://t.co/w1ZyQtRHpm
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 23, 2021
Former deputy assistant to former President Trump, Sebastian Gorka, seconded Hemingway, writing, “Governor @KristiNoem is just another RINO. Those who supported her for 2024 should read this article.”
Governor @KristiNoem is just another RINO.
Those who supported her for 2024 should read this article.https://t.co/ASnJu1yjEe
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) March 22, 2021
Conservative columnist Kurt Schlichter tweeted, “What a huge mistake ~ I’m talked to several cons who have written her off. You can’t betray the base. Period.”
What a huge mistake ~ I’m talked to several cons who have written her off.
You can’t betray the base. Period.
Gov. Kristi Noem 'Misusing Her Executive Power' in Sending Back Bill Banning Trans Athletes from Women Sports https://t.co/7BwInxtUaL
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) March 20, 2021
Conservative pundit Jesse Kelley noted, “What happened with Kristi Noem is a great example of why you NEVER fall in love with a potential presidential candidate too early.”
What happened with Kristi Noem is a great example of why you NEVER fall in love with a potential presidential candidate too early. In politics, there are a million ways you can take your candidacy out back and shoot it in the back of the head. As she just did. https://t.co/dlUcADP36n
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) March 22, 2021
Of course, Gov. Noem tried to spin her interview with Carlson as a big win.
“You’re preaching my sermon. Only girls play girls’ sports,” she tweeted.
"You're preaching my sermon. Only girls play girls' sports." pic.twitter.com/PhgpLMGsDG
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 23, 2021
But very few conservatives – if any – were having it.
Newsmax’s Emerald Robinson tweeted, “RIP: Kristi Noem’s ambition to be President of the United States.”
RIP: Kristi Noem's ambition to be President of the United States.
If you can't stand up to the NCAA, you're too weak to be POTUS.
— Emerald Robinson (@EmeraldRobinson) March 23, 2021
Former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos wrote, “Governor Noem had a chance to stand out from the pack. Now, she’s just another one of the same group. 2024 is wide open.”
Governor Noem had a chance to stand out from the pack. Now, she’s just another one of the same group. 2024 is wide open
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) March 23, 2021
Conservative columnist Inez Stepman tweeted, “What’s happening in SD right now is that Gov Noem is allowing private interests to dictate the cultural & legal policy of the state, over strong majorities of actual voters.”
What’s happening in SD right now is that Gov Noem is allowing private interests to dictate the cultural & legal policy of the state, over strong majorities of actual voters. We need to stand up to woke corporate pressure & do it now,or girls’ sports will not be the last casualty.
— Inez Stepman (@InezFeltscher) March 22, 2021
If Gov. Kristi Noem actually believes her appearance on Tucker Carlson’s program was the beginning of her political rehabilitation in Republican circles, she might be in for a rude awakening the next time she attends a conservative event.
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