South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem claimed in a podcast interview published Thursday she never planned to sign a transgender sports bill to protect female athletes.
Noem was pressed over the debacle that began to sink her political stardom on the “Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show.” Sexton brought up the issue in the context of the governor turning down piece after piece of legislation that protected individual liberties from vaccine mandates and erasure of women’s sports.
“By the way, you said you would sign the trans bill, and then backed off of it, we know that happened,” Sexton said.
“That is not true, Buck,” Noem responded, months after she reneged on that exact pledge.
“In South Dakota, we’re celebrating #InternationalWomensDay by defending women’s sports!” Noem wrote in a March 8 post responding to the successful passage of the Women’s Fairness in Sports bill. “I’m excited to sign this bill very soon.”
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 8, 2021
The next week, Noem issued a “style and form” veto of the legislation which would have barred males from competing among female athletes. Noem sent the bill back to the legislature with edits that would gut the law’s mechanisms for enforcement. The changes were rejected by the South Dakota House of Representatives.
Noem changed her position on the bill after intense lobbying by the state Chamber of Commerce and other powerful business groups, raising hysteria the legislation would provoke a corporate boycott. The governor’s own advisers include business leaders who opposed the bill.
After she effectively vetoed the legislation she had promised to sign days earlier, the governor who ascended to GOP stardom for her adamant rejection of coronavirus lockdowns tried to save her political ambitions with claims the law as written would have invited an avalanche of unwinnable litigation.
“I’ve been bullied for the last year by liberals,” Noem said on a Fox News appearance with Tucker Carlson, later framing herself as a victim of cancel culture as grassroots opposition tanked her influence within the GOP. “I’m not going to let anybody from the NCAA, from any big business, I’m not even gonna let conservatives on the right bully me.”
Federalist Staff Writer Jordan Davidson branded Noem’s claim of cancellation as, “merely a mask for the fact that a once-up-and-coming politician favored for a national stage is learning that her actions have consequences, especially when she backtracks on her word.”