During a press conference Thursday afternoon, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem pushed back on a reporter after he misrepresented her position on mask wearing during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
"You've been resistant to implement mask mandates," a reporter said.
"Yes," Noem responded.
"You're skeptical of their efficacy," he followed up.
"I never said that, Joe. Don't put words in my mouth. What I've said is the appropriate mask at the appropriate time utilized correctly and kept sanitary can make a difference. But I also don't believe it is my role to mandate that people wear a mask. I've left it, for the entire year, it up to personal responsibility to make the best decisions for them and their families and I will continue to do that," she responded.
Noem also shot down the idea of a double-mask mandate and noted how the Centers for Disease Control often changes their guidance. Last week the CDC recommended masks be worn tightly and appropriately in order to be effective.
"I'm not going to mandate it. It's not an argument over whether masks work or if they don't work. I've never argued that. What I argue is the mandate. I think the mandate is inappropriate for government to come in and mandate that somebody wear a mask and I think it's inappropriate for us to shame people who choose not to wear a mask. That's not what America is about and it's not what South Dakota is about," she continued.
There won't be a double mask mandate in South Dakota. pic.twitter.com/rXqi9eXt0W— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) February 18, 2021