Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem officially endorsed former President Donald Trump's 2024 White House bid during a South Dakota GOP rally on Friday. Noem, who introduced Trump at the rally, praised him as "the fighter that our country needs" and expressed her full support for his presidential campaign. The endorsement has fueled speculation that Noem may be at the top of Trump's list of potential 2024 running mates. Trump, who holds a significant lead in the GOP primary race, reciprocated the praise and called Noem "one of the most successful governors in the entire nation" and a "warrior for American values." The event, titled the "Monumental Leaders Rally," saw several members of the crowd holding up "Trump/Noem 2024" signs.
Noem's endorsement of Trump comes after she had previously considered her own run for president. Sources have confirmed that Noem will endorse Trump at the rally, and it is also noted that there would be little reason for Trump to visit South Dakota unless it was to secure Noem's endorsement. Noem's national recognition has grown in recent years, and she has been mentioned as a potential nominee for vice president. She joins other Republican governors, including South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, and Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, who have already thrown their support behind Trump.
During an interview with Newsmax, Noem expressed her willingness to consider the opportunity to be Trump's running mate. She stated, "Oh, absolutely," when asked about the theoretical chance, adding that she respects the position and the person who asks her to do something. She believes her perspective as a businesswoman, employee, wife, mom, and grandma would provide valuable insights in policy decisions. Noem previously refrained from endorsing any presidential candidate, but she stated that she didn't see a "path to victory" for anyone other than Trump.
Trump's visit to South Dakota comes after his previous rally in Georgia, where he was indicted on four criminal cases related to his alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. Despite the legal challenges, Trump proudly referred to his indictments during his speech, stating, "I'm being indicted for you." Attendees at the rally wore T-shirts featuring Trump's mug shot and the phrase "Never Surrender," expressing their unwavering support for the former president. Trump acknowledged that his poll numbers in the primary have risen despite the indictments, but polls indicate that a majority of Americans believe the charges against him are warranted.
The choice of South Dakota for the rally raised questions, as the state does not hold an early nominating contest and is not typically competitive in a general election. However, the event was seen as an opportunity for Trump's campaign to reduce costs by attending large-scale events organized by other groups. Governor Noem, who endorsed Trump's campaign and played a role in bringing him to Mount Rushmore for the Independence Day celebration in 2020, mentioned that other candidates were invited but only Trump accepted the invitation.
During his speech, Trump reiterated his claims from the 2020 campaign, warning that Democrats posed a threat to the nation's history, values, and monuments. He singled out political opponents such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, calling him an "unskilled politician" who "sided with the communists" against farmers. Trump also criticized television networks and labeled President Joe Biden as "grossly incompetent and very dangerous." He continued to assert that the cases against him were politically motivated, despite facing a total of 91 charges across four criminal cases. The rally concluded with various speakers affirming their belief that Trump would be the next president of the United States in 2024.
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