Kristi Noem Slams Trump’s GOP Rivals As VP Speculation Swirls

National Harbor, Maryland — Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota on Friday attacked candidates who ran against former President Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination amid speculation about her prospects of being chosen as his running mate.

Trump is the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, having won primary elections or caucuses in the states of Iowa and New Hampshire, with former Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina being his only major opponent remaining in the race. At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, Noem claimed that Trump’s rivals were selfish in their decisions to run against him while imploring the party to look to governors like her for leadership of the populist movement.

“We’ve known that for over a year [that] he’s the only person who’s got the support to be the Republican nominee. So why did all these other people and candidates get into the race? For themselves? For personal benefit? Ror a spotlight for a period of time?” Noem asked rhetorically. “We need a fighter, someone who doesn’t give up and who has never quit on us, so don’t you quit on him.”

Apart from Haley, Trump’s other Republican rivals for the nomination included Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former Vice President Mike Pence, who was Trump’s running mate in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

“I was one of the first people to endorse Donald J. Trump to be our president. Last year, when people were asking me whether I would be running for president, I said ‘No, why would you run for president if you can’t win?'” Noem said.

Noem, a governor in her second term, has been widely speculated as a leading candidate for Trump to choose as his vice presidential nominee for the 2024 election, alongside others such as Scott and former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who also spoke at CPAC on Thursday. In her remarks, Noem obliquely addressed her stature in the Republican Party and suggested that “leaders” should not be from national politics in Washington, D.C.

“For me, there is no going back. I’m all in and you need to be too,” Noem said, adding that “[w]e need to look for our leaders outside of the swamp. Nobody turns to DC for the solutions. Nothing meaningful gets accomplished. It is governors who have had to lead, and I have seen governors make bad decisions and devastate their states.”

She closed her speech by saying “if America wants to be great again, I’d suggest you take a look at South Dakota and see all that we have achieved.”

Gabbard, for her part, lavished praise on Trump in her Thursday speech and attacked efforts to disqualify him from the ballot. “They warn us he will destroy our democracy … it’s so crazy it’s laughable,” she said, adding that “[Trump] poses a threat to this establishment.

Noem indicated her distance from the Republican party’s moderate wing. “We are not going back to the good old days of the Romneys or the Cheneys. The Republican Party is much bigger than that. Now, we are filled with blue-collar workers, many cultures, perspectives, and viewpoints.”

After the speech, Noem did not answer a question from the Daily Caller News Foundation about whether Trump’s vice presidential nominee should be a woman. Later, she avoided the media by leaving the venue through a rear entrance.

CPAC is conducting a straw poll among attendees for their preferred pick as his running mate.

Republished with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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