South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) traveled to Orlando, Florida, on Saturday and delivered a moving speech about the conservative movement in America at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
“I’m here today to share some of the lessons from my state,” Noem said, shortly after being welcomed to the stage. “I think the main question that needs to be answered this weekend is: Why does America need conservatives? The question of why America needs conservatives can be answered by just mentioning a single year. And that year is 2020.”
“Everybody knows that almost overnight, we went from a roaring economy to a tragic nationwide shutdown,” Noem continued, pointing out certain economic factors that impacted Americans:
By the beginning of 2020, President Trump had created seven million new American jobs. We had the lowest unemployment rate in over half a century and unemployment rates for Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans reached the lowest levels in history. More than 10 million people had been lifted out of poverty and off welfare. All of that changed in March. Most governors shut down their states. What followed was record unemployment. Businesses closed. Most schools were shuttered. Communities suffered. And the U.S. economy came to an immediate halt.
According to Noem, Government “crushed the economy,” not the coronavirus. “And then, just as quickly, Government turned around and held itself out as the savior. Frankly, the Treasury Department can’t print money fast enough to keep up with Congress’s wish list,” she said.
Noem continued, telling those gathered at the conference about steps she took within her state to ensure that businesses were protected amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We never instituted a shelter-in-place order. We never mandated that people wear masks. We never even defined what an ‘essential business’ is because I don’t believe Governors have the authority to tell you your business is not essential,” Noem said.
Noem stated that her “administration resisted the call for virus control at the expense of everything else,” saying they “looked at the science, data, and facts and then took a balanced approach.”
“Truthfully, I never thought the decisions I was making were going to be unique,” Noem said. “I thought there would be more who would follow basic, conservative principles – guess I was wrong.”
Noem also took aim at the media for its role in the economic disparities waged against the American people throughout the coronavirus pandemic.