KEYSTONE, South Dakota — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told Breitbart News that she considers what is happening along the U.S. border with Mexico to be like a “war” and that is why she has deployed South Dakota National Guard troops to help border governors like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey control the situation.
“Our Guard was there for 60 days,” Noem said in an exclusive interview at Mount Rushmore in late September. “We deployed them down there. When the Texas governor and Arizona governor asked for help and resources, they asked for law enforcement. But as I evaluated what the needs were down there — first of all, we were having historic visitation to our state, so I didn’t want to shortchange my law enforcement agencies that enforce public safety throughout South Dakota. But also, looking at the mission that was there and the situations they would be in, the people that are trained specifically for that type of a mission is my National Guard. We have consistently, for years, had the best-rated, ranked, and awarded National Guard units in the country, and they are used to deploying, filling in, and working with other agencies, federal agencies, state agencies in cooperative levels, and they’re used to going into war. And what we’re seeing on the southern border, in many cases, is a war.”
Noem said the South Dakota National Guard members came home for a few days in September, but more are deploying back to the border in October.
“They’re facing very dangerous situations with illegal criminals many times that are crossing, human trafficking, drugs, and I wanted them to be trained for those situations and make sure that they all came home safe,” Noem said. “So they’ve been home now for a few days, and we will redeploy in October. And I brought another 125 National Guard members to go down there and again support the mission of making sure that that southern border can be as secure as we as states can do that.”
Noem also ripped President Joe Biden for a “complete failure of leadership” on the border and said the border crisis, combined with the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, “has shocked people to the core.”
“People who maybe didn’t pay that much attention to politics before, maybe didn’t pay that much attention to government and the fact that leaders, the decisions they make have real consequences — well, they’re awake now. They’re paying attention, and it’s up to us to really articulate the difference in what we did have under President Trump and conservative leadership and what we have today with the Biden White House — that a nation without laws isn’t a nation at all,” Noem said. “And we’re quickly getting there, in fact, faster than I thought we would, under this president.”
Noem’s comments came as part of a broader pair of interviews for the latest On The Hill video special in late September for which she spent two days with Breitbart News in South Dakota — one at Mount Rushmore for this interview, and then again the next day at Custer State Park at its annual Governor’s Buffalo Roundup for a second interview. In the interview, Noem also hammered Biden for “rationing” lifesaving coronavirus medicine, and for fighting a fireworks ceremony at Mount Rushmore for Independence Day. More from the series is forthcoming.