South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has garnered a lot of publicity since The Guardian printed excerpts from her autobiography where she bragged about killing an “untrainable” pup and an ornery goat.

          She was trying to prove how tough she is as she campaigns to be Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate. (Does her Melania hairstyle help or hurt?)

          Backlash to Noem’s insensitivity has been predictable. And in true Trumpian fashion Noem blames the criticism – to a story no one knew about until she shared it – on “fake news.”

          Noem’s puppy-killing revelation might put the kibosh on her national aspirations, but she shares many characteristics with the man who sicced a mob on the Capitol.

          Want some egomania?

          Noem recently made two roundtrips of about 2.400 miles each from her home state to a dental office in Sugarland, TX, just outside of Houston. Not a real endorsement for SoDak dentists – a “sucker punch,” according to South Dakota Searchlight.

          But, that’s not the endorsement Noem is courting. She courts Trump with publicity.

          It is unclear whether Noem received any compensation for her ad or whether state taxpayers picked up the tabs for her flights.

          Ironically, in a questionable expenditure of federal pandemic relief funds, Noem dressed as a dental assistant as part of the Freedom Works Here campaign, in which she is the costume-changing star as a plumber, welder, etc., trying to lure workers to her state. The $9 million in funding was designated for statewide economic relief.   

          South Dakota Democrat Drey Samuelson told South Dakota Searchlight, that, considering “Cruella Kristi’s” notoriety, she should not be the face of state recruitment. He called the campaign “as dead as Cricket (the dog).”

          Of course, COVID-19 did not exist in Noem’s mindful appeal to Trump supporters.  Her anti-science stance to keep South Dakota “open” saw her encouraging motorcyclists to rally at Sturgis throughout the pandemic.  Each year, her indifference to human life resulted in Sturgis Surges of COVID deaths in the upper Midwest.

          She also shares Trump’s penchant for nepotism, bigotry and no choices for women.

          When Noem’s daughter suffered repeated failures to acquire a state real estate appraiser license, the governor intervened, first through her labor secretary and then by summoning

30-year state employee Sherry Bren, director of the appraiser program, to the Governor’s Mansion. The upshot of this overt nepotism was that the daughter got an appraiser license, Bren was forced to retire – and then the state had to pay Bren $200,000 for her wrongful termination.

          To be an ideal Trump running mate, Noem would need to share his bigotry. She was one of the first GOP grandstanders to send troops to the “warzone” at the southern border – at a cost of more than $1 million to taxpayers – and which her office says will be paid for by funding specifically designated for in-state emergencies.

          She has also alleged that South Dakota tribal leaders are profiting from the drug crises on their reservations. Four tribes have banned her from their land.

          Noem’s past stances on women’s choice have included advocating a ban on mail-order abortion pills; threatening to prosecute pharmacists who, following Federal Drug Administration guidelines, dispense abortion pills online and calling for a “fetal heartbeat bill.”

          Noem has been working hard since 2019 to emulate Trump. In fact, last September, DailyMail headlined: “EXCLUSIVE: Married South Dakota governor Kristi Noem and Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski have been having a years-long clandestine affair.”

’s salacious story is both lengthy and detailed, presenting “extensive evidence.” Among those cited in’s report, “Former Trump operative Charles Johnson wrote in a Substack post that he had seen them acting ‘in a very flirtatious manner’ at the August, 2020 meeting of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) at The Cloister resort on Sea Island, Georgia.”

          Noem has never been South Dakota’s attorney general.

          She has denied having an affair with Lewandowski.

          But, while Noem’s purported behavior jibes perfectly with Trump’s braggadocio, he and his MAGA-hats might still adhere to a double standard – admiring “macho” men, but frightened by “loose”  women.

          So, do Noem’s Trumpian parallels outweigh her proud puppy-killing image as Trump awakens from courtroom naps to consider a running mate? Either way, neither is right for America.

            (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)

Kristi Noem? No, thank you

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