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Gaslighting: Noem Claims She Never Discouraged Wearing Masks, as Supporters Use Her Words to Discourage Masks

Governor Kristi Noem is gaslighting us, trying to say she never discouraged the use of masks in schools:

Governor Kristi Noem’s office is clarifying her stance on mask wearing among students, after a campaign email last week says she’s encouraging them return to school “without masks.”

A governor’s spokesperson calls the fundraising email “in-artfully written.” They say Noem believes if people want to wear a mask, that is their own prerogative. The spokesperson says she has—and continues—to oppose mandatory masking, but she has never discouraged wearing them [Lee Strubinger, “Noem Clarifies Mask Stance, SDEA Disappointed in Her Fundraising Push,” SDPB, 2020.08.03].

No, Kristi, you did discourage wearing masks. You sent out an irresponsible, public-health-endangering fundraising e-mail that said, “Governor Kristi Noem will not issue a state-wide mandate for distance learning, and is encouraging all families t osend their children back to school—without masks.” Far from inartfully drafted, that campaign e-mail was written to emphasize your anti-mask position, with an em dash, italics, and end placement. You don’t get to walk that one back. You discouraged masks in that e-mail, as you do every day by your bad example of never wearing a mask in indoor public spaces.

Gov. Kristi Noem, Twitter pic, Watertown, SD, 2020.07.31.
Unmasked: Gov. Kristi Noem, Twitter pic, Watertown, SD, 2020.07.31.

And as we should expect of statements from any high elected official, Noem’s written statement discouraging the use of masks now provides support for others who argue against masks in public debates. Check last night’s Rapid City School Board meeting, where the usual rightwing nutjobs enlisted Noem’s words to mask their own lack of real scientific evidence and advocate the sacrifice of children and teachers to their fantasies:

Two people gave a public comment referencing Gov. Kristi Noem’s recent campaign email discouraging masks in schools, which the state’s education association called political in a statement. Both Florence Thompson and Sherrie Nutter said kids will develop herd immunity to the coronavirus without masks.

Thompson, who is president of South Dakota Parents Involved in Education and a retired school psychologist, said “healthy people don’t need masks” and said “you can become unhealthy by wearing a mask.”

Nutter, who said she was a real estate broker in the Black Hills, said if there were too many restrictions on kids this fall, such as a mask mandate, it would have a negative impact on their mental health [Morgan Matzen, “RCAS Delays Vote on Back-to-School Plan, Mask Mandates Until Monday Meeting,” Rapid City Journal, updated 2020.08.05].

Governor Noem, you are discouraging the use of masks. Please stop. Please go on Twitter and Fox News wearing your mask, please tell people the best science says they should wear masks, and tell your nutter base to quit aping the stupid pronouncements from your office that endanger our health.


  1. Jake 2020-08-05 14:18

    I for one, will not hold my breath waiting for her to admit her wrong. She has taken the stance of ‘government really has no or little involvement here-it’s on you to figure it out!” And guess who has dealt the entire USA the same cards. They can’t admit failing at their job, and she would (like Trump) be blaming Democrats for the problems but knows full well who’s been in charge of government here for so long. Fresh blood of different philosophy is needed in SD-not the GOP platforms.

  2. jerry 2020-08-05 14:35

    Tinker Belle GNOem is trump with boobs and that describes her completely. A complete boob that South Dakota fell for once again, proving our own lack of what we expect from Pierre. The republican crop that is in charge there shows why our roads, bridges, schools and everything in between has failed.

  3. David Newquist 2020-08-05 15:59

    Herd immunity is when a large percentage of the population has antibodies from vaccinations or having had the disease so that the virus is impeded in finding hosts. Are there no informed medical officials advising the school board to publicly point out the errors these presumptuous idiots are spreading? Has informed intelligence really become that rare?

  4. Chris S. 2020-08-05 16:36

    When the Yankton school district mandated masks, a local right-winger cited Noem in her plea to make masks optional:

    “Our governor came out today and isn’t recommending mandatory masks for everyone,” she said. “I pray that you will choose to do a strong recommendation of the masks (instead).”

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-08-05 17:34

    Thanks for that example, Chris!

    Right or wrong, statements made by prominent public officials carry weight in public discourse. Their words inescapably carry the weight of their majority mandate to govern. That’s why public officials need to be more careful about their statements than regular folks who don’t hold a megaphone handed to them by the public.

  6. mike from iowa 2020-08-06 12:34

    Newly updated drumpf body count….

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

    Should hit the magic 5 million cases mark today, easily, and it still won’t just disappear.

  7. jerry 2020-08-06 14:22

    Rally is not safe or these two dingalings would be going.

    “Both state health secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon and state epidemiologist Joshua Clayton said they wouldn’t attend the Sturgis rally and recommend people take the “proper precautions” against COVID-19, such as social distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands.

    Malsam-Rysdon said the DOH would be sending additional staff to the Sturgis rally to check on food safety regulations for vendors, test water at campgrounds and inspect tattoo establishments at the request of the city.” Rapid City Journal 8.6.20

    Always send in the grunts will the rear echelon drinks cold beers and tells false war stories. These two should be leading from the front.

  8. mike from iowa 2020-08-06 14:47

    Thy will be dumb…

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  9. Jake 2020-08-06 14:50

    Yeah, Jerry, they know that most of these people will be long gone from being part of SD statistical data when they get sick or pick up the virus while here. This idiotic event is the largest gathering on earth right now-even the Muslim trek to Mecca has been throttled down or restricted to 10,000 souls per day!

  10. jerry 2020-08-06 16:15

    From the dumb and dumber at Black Hills Dermatology. The only skin tags that should be removed from there is pretty much everyone associated. What a bunch of greedy souls.. it’s all about the benjamins. We have no idea how many people they infected there…what incompetence.

    “After three staff members tested positive for COVID-19 at Black Hills Dermatology Center in Rapid City on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week, the center decided to close for two weeks.
    “We made the call to reschedule all our patients for the whole entire week,” Jason Gorman, an administrator at the center, said Thursday. “We just wanted to be safe for everybody, for patients and for staff and to monitor everything.”
    Gorman said before the closure, there was no mask policy for patients or staff in the center. He said the mask policy will change when the center reopens on Aug. 17. He also said he was unsure if staff wore masks in public places outside of work.” Rapid City Journal 8.6.2020

    No mask policy??? WTF does that mean? That is closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. These guys and gals are supposed to know science.. Clearly they pulled a trump and had someone else take that science test for them.

  11. Debbo 2020-08-06 17:55

    “Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the decision to hold the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally during the pandemic is ‘disappointing.’

    “Disappointing that the decision was made to go ahead with the event at a time when South Dakota has seen a significant upsurge in cases,” Malcolm said Wednesday.

    “We know this draws people from many states so there are people coming into the event from high-incidence states. It’s a pretty ripe environment for further spread and folks bringing the virus back to their home communities.”

  12. bearcreekbat 2020-08-06 18:58

    Debbo, our Rapid City Council president has an even stronger opinion than Malcom, which she expressed on national TV according to the RC Journal:

    Rapid City’s Council president shared her concerns about holding the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally during the coronavirus pandemic on national television on Thursday afternoon.

    In an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” Laura Armstrong said that holding the rally followed by the Central States Fair, the Labor Day holiday and the start of the school year is “a sequence of insanity.”

  13. grudznick 2020-08-06 20:04

    If Minnesota didn’t have the Fireworks Spectacular and the Motorcycle Gathering to whine about, they’d probably complain about the Corn Palace and the Belle Fourche rodeo and other all-American gathering places. Let us hope those people stay sensible and stay home. Minnesota, please do not go to Sturgis where random bikers gather and cough covid bugs as big as a grain of rice.

  14. Debbo 2020-08-06 20:09

    I like that, “a sequence of insanity” is very vivid and accurate. Thanks BCB.

  15. grudznick 2020-08-06 20:19

    When I think of a sequence of insanity, I think of Mr. Howie, young Dr. Boz, Ms. Hubbel, followed by the porn-stache-sportin’ Mr. Haugaard.

  16. Jenny 2020-08-06 20:49

    Clueless Kristi is turning more and more into Michele Bachman everyday. They look a lot alike, have the same dumb beliefs and Love being in the spotlight.

  17. mike from iowa 2020-08-07 17:44

    Looks entirely possible we will surpass 164k body count bodies this very day.

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

    drumpf have any clew when this hoax just disappears?

  18. mike from iowa 2020-08-07 18:27

    and we have a winner…..unfortunately.

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  19. Debbo 2020-08-07 20:25

    Ricketts ought to prove his point by grabbing a comfy seat in the university’s largest Covid ward in Lincoln. He can bring a magazine, his laptop, whatever he likes, and just spend a mask free hour relaxing in his version of a safe place.

    Kruel Kristi will surely be trying to one up his level of murderousness very soon. South Dakotans, aren’t you glad you blindly vote “R”?

  20. Francis Schaffer 2020-08-08 13:11

    ‘A negative impact on mental health’; applied to wearing a mask. I know a good counselor would be able to address any adverse mental health issues a student would acquire from wearing a mask. I have noticed none have come forward to raise the dead to life despite claiming self-righteously to be followers of one who could. So when those non-mask wearers offer us prayers, I don’t have much faith in the outcome being favorable.

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