South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is speaking out to CBN News about her bold conservatism in an interview ahead of her speech tonight at the Republican National Convention.
The Mount Rushmore State's Republican governor has proven herself as a renegade, allowing mass gatherings like the Sturgis Bike Rally amid the coronavirus pandemic. She told CBN News she doesn't believe she has the authority to shut down South Dakota's economy.
"I know that when you have a leader overstep their authority in a time of crisis, that's really when you lose this country, and I didn't want to be guilty of doing that," she explained. "So I never issued a shelter in place, I never closed a business. I didn't even define an essential business, what would be essential and what wouldn't be because I don't have the authority to do that. And the interesting thing is, David is that I, I talked with governors on conference calls all over this country about that. And they had some of the same information that I had yet made completely different decisions."
CBN News Chief Political Analyst David Brody asked the governor if she was implying that governors in Democrat-run states have been playing politics with the pandemic. Noem says absolutely.
"Oh, definitely. It is today," Noem replied. "At the beginning of this crisis back in March and April, I don't think it was really politically motivated because these same Democrat governors that are on TV, tearing apart the president today, months ago, were singing his praises. I sat on conference calls where they were thanking him for all he was doing to help them to respond to their people. What I am saying, though, is that what I heard on those conference calls was fear. I was shocked and amazed by how fear controlled people, and how emotional that they were."
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The South Dakota governor said she believes we live in a country that is addicted to being offended but believes that God will find a way to bring Americans together.
"But what I found in our culture today is people love being offended. And that that is wreaking havoc on our culture and our way of life in people's hearts," Noem explained. "So I am hopeful that, while we are seeing some challenges, while we're seeing things happening in America that break our hearts every day that God will find a way to reveal a healing process that really will bring us together and help us make more progress towards loving each other and seeking after God again than we've seen in decades."
When asked about the "cancel culture" mentality, she said while the rest of the country is tearing down monuments, we're going to be putting them up.
"We are going to put four monuments statues on our Capitol dome of the four men that are on Mount Rushmore to recognize that these were incredible leaders for our country, flawed individuals for sure, but they met the challenges and led and based their decisions on God's Word and direction," she replied.
On the subject of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ability of churches to hold in-person worship services, Brody asked, "Do you believe people of faith are under attack around the country? There are a lot of over-the-top policies by liberal government officials, what we're seeing in California, I mean, is something nefarious going on here?"
"Absolutely. Absolutely. It is, yeah, they are attacking our religious freedoms," Noem responded. "And so we need to use every tool that we have to make sure that we still have the ability to practice our faith and to gather as we see fit. And we have directly seen in many of these states, where they have allowed other gatherings yet restricted those who want to go to church and worship together."