SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem will be joined in November by Republican Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin and newly Independent political commentator and former Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
The pair will be campaigning for Noem on Nov. 2 in Rapid City and Sioux Falls.
Gabbard, no longer a member of Congress, was in the news recently after she announced she was leaving the Democratic party, saying it was “under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers who are driven by cowardly wokeness.”
Gabbard also said the party was “stoking anti-white racism,” and “hostile to people of faith and spirituality.” She also said that Democrats were dragging the world closer to nuclear war.
Statements regarding nuclear war have been a hallmark of Gabbard’s, who has positioned herself as “anti-war”. In recent months, has made it clear that she believes the U.S. involvement in the war between Ukraine and Russia is leading the world toward nuclear war.
“The path the Biden Admin has us on will lead to WWIII & nuclear Armageddon,” Gabbard wrote in part on Twitter in May 2022.
Gabbard has been a proponent of closer U.S. relations with Russia. This viewpoint has been shared in multiple instances, including her assertions that the U.S. should work with Russia and the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in fighting terrorism in the Middle East.
Assad has perpetrated a brutal civil war on the people of Syria which has included the perpetration of war crimes including the uses of chemical weapons on citizens, the bombing of schools, hospitals and neighborhoods, as well as accusations of the torture and disappearing of citizens. Gabbard herself has called Assad a “brutal dictator”, but opposes his overthrow, as well as U.S. support of Syrian rebels fighting his regime.
Gabbard’s calls for reductions in tensions with Russia have led to criticism of her from both Republicans and Democrats.
In 2020, Gabbard filed a defamation lawsuit against Hillary Clinton after Clinton said in a 2019 interview that an un-named Democrat in the presidential primary race was “the favorite of the Russians.” Clinton did not name Gabbard, though when a Clinton spokes-person was asked if the comments had referred to Gabbard, the person replied, “If the nesting doll fits.”
Gabbard dropped the suit in May, 2020.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said Gabbard was spreading “actual Russian propoganda” in March, 2022, after Gabbard tweeted a video that claimed the U.S. was funding bio-weapons labs in Ukraine.
There has been no evident to support the existence of bio-weapons labs in Ukraine, a claim that has been promoted by Russian state media.
A month later in April, 2022, Gabbard sent a cease and desist letter to Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah over a tweet from the month before in which he said she was “parroting false Russian propaganda” and “treasonous lies.”
While Gabbard and Noem have viewpoints in common, such as their calls for border security and opposition to vaccine mandates, they do have differences as well.
On such key difference is with regard to DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Gabbard has been a supporter of the program and called for immigration reform. Noem has opposed DACA and voted for a bill to prohibit its funding while in Congress in 2014.
Gabbard also differs from Youngkin in one apparent key area, that being his support of more aggressive action toward Russia. In February 2022, Youngkin’s office released a call for decisive action in support of Ukraine.
The release called for termination of Virgina-Russia sister cities, a review of state procurement of any and all goods and services from Russian companies and calls for Biden to take a stronger position in support of Ukraine, among other things.
Youngkin was elected Governor of Virginia in 2021, defeating Democrat and former Governor Terry McAuliffe in a state that Biden won by a 10-point margin in 2020.
Some of his experiences in his first year as governor strike a familiar resemblance to those of Noem.
Just as South Dakota has dealt with a shortage of teachers in recent years, so too has Virginia, where the staffing crisis led Youngkin to call for the state to lower the qualifications required for teachers.
Similar to Noem, Youngkin has also made the targeting of transgender youths in the school system a priority of his administration. This has included proposed changes that would require parent sign-off on any use of names or pronouns not included on the student’s official records, and requiring participation in school programs and facilities to be based on student’s biological sex as opposed to their gender.
Such moves have been resisted by both students and schools, with the Richmond School Board rejecting Youngkin’s policies, calling them “harmful to children,” and students holding walkouts across Virginia.
A similar demonstration occurred in Sioux Falls after Noem signed into law a bill banning trans girls from participating in women’s sports in South Dakota public schools.
The implementation of Youngkin’s guidelines have been pushed back as of Oct. 27.
Both Youngkin and Noem have also overseen delayed revisions of state education standards. South Dakota’s revision of the social studies education content standards has been a controversial one, costing the state nearly $500k. In Virginia, the Youngkin appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction has now twice asked for a delay in the process of revising the state’s history standards.
Youngkin and Noem also have similar views on the correct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both opposing mask mandates. Noem was a staunch opponent to mask mandates in South Dakota.
In July 2021, Noem ended the requirement for mask use in South Dakota prisons, despite continued outbreaks at the facilities and concerns from inmates, including some at the women’s prison in Pierre who told KELOLAND News they were denied disinfectant materials and were only allowed to launder their masks once a week.
In Feb., 2022 in Virginia, Youngkin issued an executive order overturning mask mandates in schools; a move which prompted legal action from local school boards.
A few months later in May, Youngkin updated the telework policy for the state, requiring state employees to begin working full-time in-person by July. This move prompted the resignation of hundreds of state employees.
One area in which all three politicians fall into the same boat; speculations of a 2024 presidential run.
While Noem has claimed she has no aspirations for higher office in 2024, frequent trips out of state for national Republican party events and fundraisers have raised questions regarding her future plans.
Youngkin in July declined to directly endorse Trump should the former president decide to run again in 2024, and wouldn’t rule out a run himself.
Gabbard herself was asked about a potential 2024 candidacy by a New Hampshire radio show, and also did not rule out the possibility.