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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, already on thin ice over her battles with state Republicans over a bill to ban biological males from women’s sports, is once again facing intense heat, this time for refusing to ban vaccine mandates.
On Saturday, she posted a tweet ostensibly designed to cheer up private business employees who’re being forced to choose between either complying with their employer’s vaccine mandate or looking for a new job.
“Workers whose employers are mandating a vaccine for continued employment have the power to say no. Our robust economy and job market gives them the option to find a new employer that values personal choice and responsibility, and doesn’t force mandates on their employees,” the governor wrote.
Workers whose employers are mandating a vaccine for continued employment have the power to say no. Our robust economy and job market gives them the option to find a new employer that values personal choice and responsibility, and doesn’t force mandates on their employees.
— Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) July 31, 2021
The tweet provoked massive backlash from … conservatives.
It sounded to conservatives as if she was tacitly condoning those private businesses that have chosen to force a vaccine mandate on their employees.
Technically, her position is the correct one from a free market perspective. Businesses should be allowed to run their operations as they choose.
However, since the arrival of former President Donald Trump, the contemporary Republican Party has slowly been becoming more populist, and the populist position on this issue is that businesses DON’T have the right to force vaccines on employees.
And so for Noem to choose the free market position over the populist one — and for her to do so while in the middle of a pre-2024 election feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — was perhaps not the wisest move.
After all, DeSantis has taken the populist position and banned vaccine passports and mandates in Florida, making him extremely popular among the base.
Noem meanwhile is having her “Marie Antoinette” moment, according to Newsmax’s Jessie Jane Duff and others.
@GovRonDeSantis is decisive for his state and ignores the left’s attacks. Kristi is trying to have it both ways and placate everyone so she becomes a political Gumby. Her attitude people can just find a new job is obtuse.
Kristi is having her Marrie Antoinette moment.
— Jessie Jane Duff (@JessieJaneDuff) August 1, 2021
May the good people of South Dakota “have the power to say no” to you and this BS.
I legitimately couldn’t imagine being so privileged and out of touch to make such a statement to my constituents.
You’re officially dead to me.
— RAM (Richard Armande Mills) (@RAMRANTS) August 1, 2021
You are cooked for higher office.
— Austin Ruse (@austinruse) August 1, 2021
You’re a coward and failure. Grifters who are awestruck by z-list “talent” will tell you otherwise. You are a joke. https://t.co/Mh0yrcShso
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) July 31, 2021
You’re the Governor of your state
If you don’t intend to protect your citizens, resign, and let someone e else do the job https://t.co/xT3KwYBQgj
— Will Chamberlain (@willchamberlain) July 31, 2021
— Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) July 31, 2021
Republican governor tells her supporters to just be unemployed and let the free market sort out vax mandates.
Every conservative who promoted Noem as the next great leader should feel intense shame rn. https://t.co/hY0qGsthGJ
— Scott Greer 6’2” IQ 187 (@ScottMGreer) July 31, 2021
The anger is palpable.
All this comes only weeks after Noem throw a shot across the bow at DeSantis over the coronavirus restriction measures he’d briefly employed last year.
“Let’s talk about rewriting history. We’ve got Republican Governors across this country pretending they didn’t shut down their states, that they didn’t close their beaches, that they didn’t mandate masks, that they didn’t issue shelter-in-places,” she said at the latest Conservative Political Action Conference committee last month in Texas.
“Now I’m not picking fights with Republican governors. All I’m saying is that we need leaders with grit. That their first instinct is the right instinct.”
Noem: Let’s talk about rewriting history. We’ve got Republican Governors across this country pretending they didn’t shut down their states.. that they didn’t close their beaches…. pic.twitter.com/LE16B2f680
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 11, 2021
Though she didn’t name DeSantis, everybody knew she was talking about him because he’s her number one competitor going into the 2024 race.
It’s true that, unlike Noem, DeSantis did pursue a brief lockdown. It’s also true that he pushed some occupancy restrictions on businesses. Still, his restrictions were relatively minor compared to the far more draconian ones pursued by some other governors. Some say he was being pragmatic.
In the South Dakota governor’s case, some say she’s being “extremely weak.”
— J O E • M A Z (@JoeMaz) August 1, 2021
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