Kristi Noem’s Face the Nation interview didn’t go properly

Kristi Noem’s Face the Nation interview didn’t go properly

South Dakota governor and rising conservative star Kristi Noem was a giant hit on the Conservative Political Motion Convention (CPAC) on Saturday, the place she bragged about her state’s response to the coronavirus throughout a headlining speech. However an interview she did hours later with CBS highlighted how her try to show actuality on its head doesn’t survive scrutiny.

In actuality, South Dakota’s laissez faire strategy to the pandemic — together with Noem’s refusal to implement a masks mandate — has amounted to “a failed experiment in herd immunity,” as Bloomberg not too long ago put it. The state has one of many 10 highest mortality rates in america. Greater than 1 in 500 residents has died because the pandemic started. And, as Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan famous through the CBS interview, South Dakota’s mortality fee has been the best within the nation since final July.

Noting that the governor is a staunch conservative, Brennan pressed Noem to clarify how somebody who claims to care in regards to the sanctity of life can “justify making choices that put the well being of your constituents in danger.” Her response was nonsensical whataboutism.

“These are questions that you ought to be asking each different governor on this nation as properly,” she mentioned, regardless that the entire level of the query is that South Dakota’s Covid-19 response has been a failure — and much more restricted — when in comparison with the overwhelming majority of different states.

Maybe most egregiously, Noem encouraged folks to come back to her state final August for the Sturgis bike rally, regardless of the raging pandemic.

Public well being consultants mentioned holding the rally, which finally drew practically 500,000 people, was a really unhealthy concept. And at least one study has borne that out — analysis from the Middle for Well being Economics and Coverage Research at San Diego State College discovered it not solely may have contaminated lots of of 1000’s of individuals with the virus, however will probably contain greater than $12 billion in well being care prices.

Requested in regards to the San Diego examine by Brennan, Noem indicated she values permitting “folks to make choices for themselves” above all else.

“Pay attention, what we did was permit folks to make choices for themselves,” she mentioned. “We gave all of them the knowledge on this virus — how you can shield their well being — after which we allowed them to make choices on what they’d do.”

“My query is, if we had mandated that folks needed to keep dwelling, if we had mandated that companies needed to be closed, would which have made a distinction?” Noem continued. “I’d argue that it wouldn’t have.”

As Brennan identified, nonetheless, Noem’s place will not be backed up by information. Along with the aforementioned San Diego examine linking Sturgis with many 1000’s of circumstances, President Donald Trump’s coronavirus process drive coordinator, Deborah Birx, not too long ago described Noem’s determination to permit Sturgis as “not okay.” And because the Washington Post reviews, well being consultants imagine the rally might have seeded coronavirus circumstances throughout the Midwest, contributing to the rise in circumstances seen nationally final fall.

Noem’s coronavirus response has even been panned by Republicans like West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who responded to critics of his masks mandate final November by saying, “I don’t need to be South Dakota.” Brennan requested Noem about Justice’s comment, however as an alternative of participating with it, Noem instantly pivoted to bashing blue-state governors like Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom, each of whom have confronted questions over their Covid-19 response.

In brief, Noem’s CBS interview didn’t go properly for her. However Margaret Brennan will not be the GOP base, and if Noem’s CPAC reception is any indication, Republican voters truly view her coronavirus response as successful.

Noem’s CPAC speech illustrated how little conservatives have discovered in regards to the coronavirus

“Let me be clear — Covid didn’t crush the economic system, authorities crushed the economic system,” Noem claimed at CPAC on Saturday, earlier than taking a direct shot at trusted public well being consultants.

“Dr. Fauci is flawed rather a lot,” she added, to very large applause.

Noem’s place that private freedoms are extra essential than public well being gave the impression to be the consensus view at CPAC. This was illustrated by a outstanding scene on Friday during which organizers of the convention needed to beg attendees to comply with lodge guidelines and put on a masks on the premises, to boos and yells of “freedom!”

Noem isn’t large on masks herself. Earlier this month, she was extensively criticized for tweeting out pictures of herself posing maskless with a bunch of legislative pages throughout a dinner on the governor’s mansion (all however one web page within the picture was maskless).

On the very least, the picture set a foul instance for her constituents — significantly given she has left it as much as them whether or not to put on masks. However in these polarized occasions, what to the scientifically minded seems like a foul instance seems to Republicans like a heroic instance of proudly owning the libs.

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