Kristi Noem Slams Trump’s GOP Rivals As VP Speculation Swirls

Arjun Singh for The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Arjun Singh Contributor
Font Size:

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota on Friday attacked candidates who ran against former President Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination amid speculation about her prospects of being chosen as his running mate.

Trump is the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, having won primary elections or caucuses in the states of Iowa and New Hampshire, with former Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina being his only major opponent remaining in the race. At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, Noem claimed that Trump’s rivals were selfish in their decisions to run against him while imploring the party to look to governors like her for leadership of the populist movement. (RELATED: ‘Incarcerate The Criminals’: El Salvador’s Leader Explains How US Can Follow His Lead And Squash Crime)

“We’ve known that for over a year [that] he’s the only person who’s got the support to be the Republican nominee. So why did all these other people and candidates get into the race? For themselves? For personal benefit? Ror a spotlight for a period of time?” Noem asked rhetorically. “We need a fighter, someone who doesn’t give up and who has never quit on us, so don’t you quit on him.”

Apart from Haley, Trump’s other Republican rivals for the nomination included Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former Vice President Mike Pence, who was Trump’s running mate in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

South Dakota’s governor Kristi Noem, US Vice President Mike Pence, and US President Donald Trump look on during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House December 16, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 13: Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis (R) sits next to U.S. President Donald Trump and Governor of South Dakota-elect Kristi Noem during a meeting with Governors elects in the Cabinet Room at the White House on December 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“I was one of the first people to endorse Donald J. Trump to be our president. Last year, when people were asking me whether I would be running for president, I said ‘No, why would you run for president if you can’t win?'” Noem said.

Noem, a governor in her second term, has been widely speculated as a leading candidate for Trump to choose as his vice presidential nominee for the 2024 election, alongside others such as Scott and former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who also spoke at CPAC on Thursday. In her remarks, Noem obliquely addressed her stature in the Republican Party and suggested that “leaders” should not be from national politics in Washington, D.C.

“For me, there is no going back. I’m all in and you need to be too,” Noem said, adding that “[w]e need to look for our leaders outside of the swamp. Nobody turns to DC for the solutions. Nothing meaningful gets accomplished. It is governors who have had to lead, and I have seen governors make bad decisions and devastate their states.”

She closed her speech by saying “if America wants to be great again, I’d suggest you take a look at South Dakota and see all that we have achieved.”

STURGIS, SOUTH DAKOTA – AUGUST 09: Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota arrives at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip campground after riding in the Legends Ride for charity on a 2021 Indian Chief on August 09, 2021 near Sturgis, South Dakota. Each August hundreds of thousands of motorcycling enthusiast come to the southwest corner of South Dakota for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 17: South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem speaks at the Calvin Coolidge Foundation conference at the Library of Congress on February 17, 2023 in Washington, DC. During her remarks, Noem spoke on a range of topics including her views on the workforce in the United States, the impact of Covid -19 on the labor market and her experience as governor in South Dakota during the height of the pandemic. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA – SEPTEMBER 08: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump greets South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem after she introduced him at the Monument Leaders Rally hosted by the South Dakota Republican Party on September 08, 2023 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Noem endorsed Trump during the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Gabbard, for her part, lavished praise on Trump in her Thursday speech and attacked efforts to disqualify him from the ballot. “They warn us he will destroy our democracy … it’s so crazy it’s laughable,” she said, adding that “[Trump] poses a threat to this establishment.

Noem indicated her distance from the Republican party’s moderate wing. “We are not going back to the good old days of the Romneys or the Cheneys. The Republican Party is much bigger than that. Now, we are filled with blue-collar workers, many cultures, perspectives, and viewpoints.”

After the speech, Noem did not answer a question from the Daily Caller News Foundation about whether Trump’s vice presidential nominee should be a woman. Later, she avoided the media by leaving the venue through a rear entrance.

CPAC is conducting a straw poll among attendees for their preferred pick as his running mate.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.