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Noem Criticizes Maine Governor for Presiding Over Far More Successful Pandemic Fight

Coronavirus is surging in Maine, and Governor Janet Mills yesterday urged Mainers to protect themselves and their communities from further spread:

Mills implored Mainers to abide by health rules even in their own homes by ruling out large house parties, wearing masks when inviting guests over and staying at least 6 feet apart from non-family members.

“We know COVID-19 thrives on even the slightest hint of complacency among people,” Mills said at an afternoon media briefing. “Maine has done well, but we have to do better.”

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 87 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. There was a net increase of 76 cases because of probable cases from previous days that later tested negative.

The seven-day average of 53.8 cases is a new record, eclipsing the previous mark set in late May. The seven-day average has doubled in the last month and has nearly quadrupled since bottoming out at about 14 cases on Aug. 11 [Eric Russell and Joe Lawlor, “As Covid Hits New Heights, Mills Pleads for Mainers to Follow Public Health Rules,” Portland Press Herald, 2020.10.28].

Meanwhile, South Dakota’s absent Governor Kristi Noem, who remotely presides over a state with 34% fewer people than Maine but 18 times as many new daily cases of coronavirus this week and 23% more deaths from coronavirus (180) this month than Maine has had all year, visited Maine yesterday and told her Maine listeners that she’s better at pandemic management that Governor Mills:

“I made very different decisions than the Governor here in Maine,” Noem said. “I would remind [Mills] that she overstepped her authority, Governor’s do not have the authority to put in the mandates that she did.”

Noem disagreed with Mills’ mask mandates, the definition of essential business, and all safety measures the state took which, she said, resulted in the closure of businesses in Maine [Sam Rogers and Gabrielle Mannino, “‘Trump Tour’ Rolls Through Maine, Campaign Says State Is ‘Absolutely in Play’ for a Trump Victory,” News Center Maine, 2020.10.28].

Results speak for themselves. The editors of the Portland Press Herald say that they can Mainers can indeed learn from their South Dakota visitor and the very similar yet plague-riddled state she’s abandoned:

We are both rural states with small populations and a culture of outdoor recreation.

…The only things that will protect Maine from becoming another South Dakota is if Mainers continue to do the things we know will stop the spread of the virus.

What Gov. Mills gets right (and South Dakota’s governor gets wrong) is that fighting covid is a matter not of limiting individual freedom, but a matter of social responsibility. As long as this virus circulates, it’s up to each of us to protect the people around us by being careful.

With lives at stake, small sacrifices such as avoiding crowds, wearing a mask in public, maintaining safe distances and washing our hands is not too much to ask [editorial board, “Our View: Maine Needs No Advice About Covid from South Dakota,” Portland Press Herald, 2020.10.29].

Hey, that’s what Kevin Woster is saying… and pretty much the opposite of what Governor Noem is doing as she masklessly seeks the crowds of her national campaign.

Maine can learn from South Dakota as an example of what not to do. Maybe South Dakota can learn from Maine as an example of seeing through malarkey and electing a responsible Governor.


  1. Jennifer 2020-10-29 19:12

    I can only shake my head in disbelief while reading Noem’s recent statements regarding her handling of the Pandemic and criticism of how other states have acted. It’s like she’s in some type of alternative reality where South Dakota is not vying for first place in per capita infection rates. The best I can figure is that she has gained a bit of a following from certain segments with her response to the pandemic and is now high on the resulting fame to the point where she can’t back down now even though the situation is vastly different then when the Pandemic first started. Or perhaps she’s just a delusional idiot.

  2. Scott 2020-10-29 20:14

    Covid can be controlled with good leadership.

    The stupidity and scare tactics with the Trump/Noem people drives my blood pressure through the roof.

    46% positivity test rate in SD.

  3. Debbo 2020-10-29 20:59

    In Kruel Kristi’s mind, this is good governance.

    The stench from the trump Family Crime Syndicate only grows worse as the rot extends farther. Here is the background to the buying of a SCOTUS seat.

    “The son of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy helped Donald Trump in 2005 secure nearly $700 million in loans to construct a skyscraper in Chicago, despite Trump’s reputation for defaulting on business loans, the New York Times reported on Tuesday evening.”

  4. Debbo 2020-10-29 21:09

    Five more days Scott.

    I know you South Dakotans will be stuck with Kruel Kristi longer, but hopefully she’ll see an enormous BLUE TSUNAMI wipe out her hero, Callous Creep, and the Congressional Creeps as well. That just might cool her jets, make a small difference in her perpetually self focused thinking.

  5. chris 2020-10-29 23:11

    Kristi imagines trolling is governing, and she’s never heard of hubris.

  6. Curt 2020-10-29 23:26

    Remember the Maine.

  7. sx123 2020-10-29 23:42

    We had all the advantages in South Dakota: low density and very advanced warning.

    But pride cometh before the fall, egging it on with large rallies, no masks, little distancing, and mocking experts.

    It does appear though that the whole country/world is on the verge of going exponential, putting economics ahead of public health, resulting in bad outcomes for both.

  8. jerry 2020-10-30 00:09

    Another 1.1 million file for unemployment. We better go to work fixing the problem with the trump republican virus (vote them out). 32 weeks of trump republican failure.

    “It is the 32nd week since millions of Americans began applying for unemployment benefits because of pandemic-induced layoffs as authorities tried to reduce the spread of the deadly coronavirus. For the week that ended October 24, the Department of Labor reported Thursday, 751,000 newly jobless workers filed for state unemployment insurance and 360,000 filed for federal benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, for a total of 1.1 million. That’s down 25,000 from the previous week. The PUC covers free-lancers and other self-employed people who aren’t eligible for benefits under the state programs.”

  9. DANA HANNA 2020-10-30 08:15

    Read today’s article in the Daily Beast about Noem and one man’s death in South Dakota.

  10. o 2020-10-30 10:02

    Maybe it is just the former hs debate judge in me, but when people — in this case Governor Noem — make claims, I expect to hear the reasoning and evidence that supports said claim. When the claim is that the actions SD Governor took are “right” and the actions Maine’s Governor took are “wrong,” how is that argument substantiated?

  11. Jenny 2020-10-30 11:19
    Mayo Clinic Health System is pleading for people to socially distance and wear masks and says the increasing rates of Covid in the Midwest is not because of more testing, it’s because of people letting their guard down.
    So who are you going to believe South Dakotans, a detached, dismissive governor just out for her own self-interests or Mayo Clinic, rated the best healthcare system in the country?

    Please listen to the doctors and scientists. Be Safe.

  12. chris 2020-10-30 12:40

    Kristi so dumb she thinks the “positivity rate” is her approval rating.

  13. james 2020-10-30 12:44

    Kristi’s modern math. She blames it all on an increase in testing. I believe that we have doubled our testing since the summer months. But cases have gone up 20 to 30 times since then. Deaths way up. Hospitalizations too.

    Didn’t Kristi go to SDSU? My guess… she wasn’t a math major.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-10-30 12:50

    O, that lack of follow-up to the wild claims Noem and Trump make daily is driving me nuts.

    It’s been so refreshing to listen to Joe Biden in the ABC public forum, the last debate, and other public statements. Even when he’s keeping it brief, Biden speaks, as his old boss Barack always does, in organized paragraphs, with topic sentences and supporting details.

  15. kj trailer trash 2020-10-30 13:37

    Both of them, Jennifer. She’s high on fame and Facebook and Twitter adulation plus an idiot. I doubt she ever even reads any negative comments, just hears secondhand from a staffer if big names like the Argus or national media talk about her.
    And yes to everyone about the wild unsubstantiated claims from her and Trump. In that same vein, media shouldn’t allow out-of-context ad quotes from either side. Biden says “I will raise taxes on any earnings over $400k,” and of course we are now bombarded with ads which only show Biden saying “I will raise taxes.” If the situation were reversed, it would be just as wrong. For cryin’ out loud, I’m sure that someone could take a still shot of a part of a video of KovidKristi talking, freeze her in “mid-blink,” and she’d look as stoned as if she was at Snoop Dogg’s birthday party. I could see the fake ad now: “Here’s anti-legal-pot Noem, high as a kite.”

  16. Eve Fisher 2020-10-30 14:53

    DATE: 10/30/2020
    South Dakota total cases – 44,559; 1 out of every 20 has/has had the virus
    South Dakota active cases – 13,520; 1 out of every 65 is currently active for the virus
    South Dakota deaths 415 – 1 out of every 2120 has died

    Sioux Falls total cases – 14,857; 1 out of every 15 has/has had the virus
    Sioux Falls active cases – 4,307; 1 out of every 53 is currently active for the virus
    Sioux Falls deaths – 131; 1 out of every 1756 has died

    Heck of a job, Kristi.

  17. james 2020-10-30 15:23

    I know one person who has died already. A couple others who were hospitalized. Several more with lasting symptoms. And the worst is yet to come.

    Kristi Noem did this on purpose. Encouraging mass gatherings while avoiding mask use. Deliberately ignoring medical advice. If there were ever a liability case for deliberate mass injury, this is it. I can’t think of another politician, ever, who was this irresponsible.

  18. james 2020-10-30 15:27

    Can a public figure be held responsible for deaths caused by their actions while in office? I don’t know, but when you admit that “according to the experts, we did everything wrong”, you should be.

  19. mike from iowa 2020-10-30 17:37

    (Prighar)– Public health officials in O’Brien county are putting out an urgent plea as that county currently has the highest positivity rate in the state of Iowa. As of today (Friday) it stood at 23.4 percent.

    They spelled Primghar wrong. Only known Primghar in the world and they misspelled it.

  20. mike from iowa 2020-10-30 18:38

    Moar milestones in drumpf body count…

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

    9.3 million cases and 235k deaths.

  21. sx123 2020-10-30 20:23

    Setting expectations low (a common strategy), like saying 70% of South Dakotans are expected to get covid, is an easy target to hit. Real leadership bucks the trend and sets goals high and then tries to achieve those high goals.

    It’s easy to hit low goals when one doesn’t even try to fix a problem; that’s not leadership. That’s just being lazy. Some might say that’s being realistic, but reality can be bent, if you strategize and work it. Be proactive, not reactive.

  22. Valerie 2020-10-31 06:52

    Corey, Noem didn’t show up in any of my SDSU geography classes either…..obviously! I know we can’t recall a governor, however we can’t go on like this for 2 more years either. Is there any other way to get Covid Kristi out of office as an absent and negligent public servant who is not fulfilling their duties?

  23. leslie 2020-10-31 10:39

    Gov Kristi Noem: “I doubt she ever even reads” ;)

    Thats not good—grumpy ben “you are rubber, I am glue…” shapiro

  24. leslie 2020-10-31 10:45

    Well Debbo, she has stopped wearing her stupid tactical dog-whistle camo cap with dumb militia-bait velcroed-on patches! In official public appearances anyway.

  25. leslie 2020-10-31 10:55

    Maybe Gov Noem could take a clue from Gov Mills who likely wears bright plaid wool Mackinaw jackets in the fall, promoting LL BEAN products of Maine.

    Maybe try wearing Lakota ribbon blouses or big beautiful artistic quilled cowgirl belt buckles, or even just a beaded baseball cap, promoting our real American original neighbors from the reservations.

  26. Mike Livingston 2020-10-31 11:19

    Just out of curiosity I looked up the definition of sycophant and I found that the only thing missing was a picture of the governor of South Dakota.

    [ˈsikəˌfant, ˈsikəfənt]
    a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage.
    toady · creep · crawler · fawner · flatterer · flunkey · truckler · groveler · doormat · lickspittle · kowtower · obsequious person · minion · hanger-on · leech · puppet · spaniel · Uriah Heep · bootlicker · yes-man · brown-nose · suck-up

    Need I say more?

  27. Debbo 2020-10-31 14:40

    46%!?! Boggles the mind.

    What a massive failure rate.

  28. mike from iowa 2020-10-31 15:22

    Thanks for that, kj trailer trash. I bet Noem Nothing’s calloused butt, from logging minutes in a saddle, is burning tonight. Yikes!

  29. Jenny 2020-10-31 15:23

    Good lord, South Dakota – 46% of you are infected? Your Barnyard Barbie needs to get back to the corral and do something.

  30. Mike Livingston 2020-10-31 15:36

    While Kristy is out flaunting her ignorance on all things covid and insulting a fellow Governor
    in her own state the rest of the republicants are squeezing in as many super spreader events as possible.

    Do you wonder why it seems like Trumpists either do not notice or do not care that the great reality denier is mocking their ignorance and gullibility? I think even Fox nooze disseminate pandemic stats, albeit with their unique perspective, so when the donald spews forth his lies about rounding the corner and all is well on fantasy island, the flock of sheep choke it down and keep on grazing. Bah bah

  31. Debbo 2020-10-31 15:46

    That was a passionate and powerful letter. Thanks for the link, kj.

    I will never in my life understand the level of heartlessness exhibited by people like Kruel Kristi, Greedy Groper, and most of the GOP. It just doesn’t compute.

  32. Eve Fisher 2020-10-31 17:11

    I know Mary Askren – she’s an excellent writer and artist, and the idea of her battling cancer and COVID at the same time is heartbreaking.

  33. leslie 2020-10-31 17:51

    Noem would be comfortable w/ aggressive resistance policing of crowds demonstrating 1st amend rights to protest (Cannonball/unconstitutional riot booster legislation/ SDLEO participation).

    Police use pepper-spray on protesters — including children — marching to polls in [Graham] NC.

    I was there this time last year.

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