Guv Kristi Noem rules out mask mandates in South Dakota, slams CDC for changing stance under political pressure

The GOP leader said it is inappropriate for the government to mandate that people wear masks

                            Guv Kristi Noem rules out mask mandates in South Dakota, slams CDC for changing stance under political pressure
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said it is not her job to mandate people wear masks (Getty Images)

South Dakota GOP Governor Kristi Noem on Thursday, February 18, objected to potential mask mandates, saying they would not come to her state. When asked about it at a press conference, she said it is not her task to mandate people wear masks. She also ruled out the possibility of having a double mask mandate in South Dakota.

Saying mask mandates would “not be coming in South Dakota. That’s for sure”, Noem put the ball in the people’s court. “I’ve left, for the entire year, it is up to personal responsibility to make the best decision for them and their families and I will continue to do that,” the 49-year-old governor said. When it was suggested at the press conference that Noem had been “skeptical” about mask mandates, she said “don’t put words in my mouth”. “What I’ve said is the appropriate mask at the appropriate time utilized correctly, kept sanitary, can make a difference,” she added. 


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Noem, who in the past said Trump is not her type of Republican but defended his legacy recently, also took a dig at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) over its mask mandate. When asked about the CDC’s recent guidelines suggesting wearing double masks for enhanced safety against coronavirus, Noem said the “CDC has changed their recommendations many, many times”. She also alleged that the CDC has changed its stance at times under political pressure.

“I choose to rely on science and data and facts, and masks can work in certain situations if you're wearing the right kind and you’re doing it appropriately. But I'm not going to mandate it. It’s not an argument over whether masks work or if they don’t work, I’ve never argued that. What I argue is the mandate. I think... (it) is inappropriate for government to come in and mandate that someone wear a mask,” Noem said. 

“That’s not what America is about and it’s not what South Dakota is about,” she added. 

Last month, Noem tweeted her cynicism over mask mandates while responding to an analysis that indicated that differences between cases of Covid-19 with or without mask mandates did not differ much.


Noem blasts Biden administration over scrapping of Keystone XL pipeline

Earlier this week, Noem expressed her disappointment over the Joe Biden administration's decision to scrap the Keystone XL pipeline in January saying it not only affected thousands of workers but also harmed communities that were hoping for an influx of residents and tax revenue. Speaking on Fox News Primetime, the governor of the deep red state called the pipeline safer for the environment, contradicting the belief of the Biden administration. She said his cancelation of the pipeline project’s permit left the residents of the Mount Rushmore state “devastated”. 

People participate in a protest against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on October 13, 2014, in Pierre, South Dakota. (Getty Images)

“The pipeline was being built through the state of South Dakota. In fact, they had already built a couple of pumping stations, they had the pipeline laid out ready to be installed, and then when he pulled the permits, everything just stopped,” she said. 

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