Gov. Kristi Noem: COVID Didn’t Crush Economy, Government Did

Gov. Kristi Noem: COVID Didn’t Crush Economy, Government Did

Hailing her state as the only one in the U.S. that did not declare shelter-in-place orders, mask mandates, business closures, or defining essential business, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem fired back at the national failing of U.S. health experts during the pandemic.

“I don’t know if you agree with me, but Dr. [Anthony] Fauci is wrong a lot,” Noem said during her CPAC speech Saturday, pointing to the top U.S. infectious disease expert who told her South Dakota would get up to 10,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations in a day.

Her state never got over 600, she said.

“My administration resisted the call for virus control at the expense of everything else,” she continued, noting hospitalizations and not infection rates were her primary concern. “We looked at the science, the data, and the facts, and then we took a balanced approach.

“Truthfully, I never thought that the decisions that I was making were going to be unique. I thought that there would be more than would follow basic conservative principles, but I guess I was wrong.”

The early lockdowns were a step that would have locked down her state through the fall when the pandemic peaked, she said, calling out the “coercion, the force, and the anti-liberty steps the governments take to enforce them.”

“Often the enforcement isn’t based on facts; justifying these mitigation efforts has been anything but scientific,” Noem said.

Noem got laughs as she noted ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give Noem advice on handling the pandemic.

“Now seems like a really good time to remind everyone of what Gov. Cuomo was doing in New York,” she said, breaking down the allegations involving Cuomo’s withholding of COVID-19 death counts of seniors in longterm living facilities, after he mandated the homes to take in infected patients instead of sending them to an empty Navy ship and field hospitals.

“Now, that is the media’s COVID hero.”

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