"Let me be clear," South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said on CPAC Saturday down in Orlando, Florida. "COVID didn't crush the economy. Government crushed the economy."
Throughout the pandemic, the government has held itself out as "the savior," Gov. Noem said. But she was proud to tell the crowd of conservatives that South Dakota is "the only state in the nation that never ordered a single business or church to close." She received massive applause and a standing ovation for that line.
"We never instituted a shelter in place order," she continued. "We never mandated that people wear masks. We never even defined what an essential business is. Because I don't believe that governors have the authority to tell you that your bus isn't essential."
Again, more cheers. But the boos erupted when she mentioned a certain controversial figure.
"Dr. Fauci, he told me that on my worst day, I'd have 10,000 patients in the hospital," Gov. Noem recalled. "On our worst day, we had a little over 600. Now, I don't know if you agree with me, but Dr. Fauci is wrong a lot."
But still, as she recalled, the media labeled Noem as "ill-informed, reckless, a denier," which she called "a lie." And the media did all of this while simultaneously praising lockdown governors like Andrew Cuomo. Gov. Noem reminded CPAC that ahead of her interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, the anchor actually asked Cuomo to give her some advice. Of course, we now know what a poor job Gov. Cuomo did as a leader during the pandemic, sending recovering COVID patients back into nursing homes and failing to utilize the hospital ships in New York harbor.
Gov. Noem said she kept South Dakotans safe, while protecting their livelihoods. In fact the unemployment rate dropped to 3 percent in December.
"We have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation," she announced. "No. 1 in the nation for keeping jobs, keeping businesses open, keeping money in the pockets of our people."
Gov. Noem has also pushed back at media figures like Rachel Maddow who suggested Noem was dangerous, telling the MSNBC host in October to "stop spreading fear" to her viewers.
The governor insisted that we need conservatives at both the local and federal levels to stand up for fundamental freedoms and principles, especially during the pandemic.
"Conservatives exist to fight for America, and for every single American," she said.
You can watch Gov. Noem's entire CPAC speech below.
Why America needs conservatives: https://t.co/OF0sWPDPRA— Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) February 27, 2021