Noem has fought against the commands of the mask and lively a big motorcycle rally which saw hundreds of thousands of people attend. South Dakota has at times struggled to contain the pandemic, having seen the most cases and deaths per capita among states in the country, according to data compiled by The Washington Post.
Noem is firmly betting on the firm pro-Trump lane among potential 2024 Republican contenders, many of whom have spoken at CPAC. He will meet with donors in March at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, a fundraiser for his re-election bid and the first fundraising event of this cycle hosted by Donald Trump Jr.
In her speech Saturday, Noem often followed Trump’s playbook, blaming Anthony Fauci, a favorite target among MAGA worshipers, and said his predictions about the fate of South Dakota with the virus were too dire.
“I don’t know if you agree with me, but Dr. Fauci is very wrong,” Noem said to raucous applause. He also called the media coverage of his state’s coronavirus response “a lie,” while criticizing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who has come under fire for his nursing home policies.
Like many other CPAC speakers, Noem leaned heavily toward culture wars, arguing that there has been an “organized and coordinated campaign to remove and remove all references to the founding of our nation and many other parts of our history.”
“Trying to cancel the founding generation is an attempt to cancel our own freedoms,” Noem said. “Let us always remember that the United States is good. Freedom is better than tyranny. We are unique, we are exceptional, and no American should apologize for that. ”
He also called for a new handbook for conservatism, saying that traditional Republican campaign problems, such as tax cuts and regulation, “are no longer good enough.”
“As conservatives, we often forget that stories are so much more powerful than facts and statistics,” Noem said. “Our stories need to be told. It is the only way we will inspire and motivate the American people to preserve this great country.”
In a crowded pool of potential contenders, Noem scored 1 percent in a recent POLITICO / Morning Consult poll on voter preference for 2024.