Former President Donald Trump wholeheartedly endorsed South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem in her most recent political campaign.
It’s uncertain whether Noem is going to return the favor.
Noem joined an apparently widening chorus of former Trump supporters who seem less than fully enthused about The Donald’s return to presidential politics. Some of those, like Noem, may be holding back because they harbor aspirations for the Oval Office themselves.
“Kristi Noem has been a fantastic governor for the state of South Dakota,” Trump said during a short video shown at a campaign rally for Noem on Nov. 7, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “Kristi Noem is one of the best governors in the country. We have to re-elect her by a big margin. She’ll only get better.”
Noem did, in fact, win re-election by a large margin — something in the neighborhood of 27 points. Whether Trump still believes that she’s only gotten better since is another question, particularly after her comments to The New York Times following Trump’s announcement Tuesday that he would run for president again in 2024.
“If we narrow our focus there, then we’re not talking to every single American,” Noem told The Times, explaining that she didn’t think Trump offered the “best chance” for the Republican Party to win back the White House in 2024.
“Our job is not just to talk to people who love Trump or hate Trump,” she added. “Our job is to talk to every single American.”
If that statement wasn’t enough to annoy the former president, the company she was in when she made it might have been. Seated at the table with her at the time was Corey Lewandowski, one of Trump’s many former campaign managers who now works for Noem as a political adviser.
Another former Trump supporter, Mike Pompeo, who served as secretary of state in the Trump administration and also has presidential hopes, was also clearly unprepared to endorse his former boss.
“We need more seriousness, less noise, and leaders who are looking forward, not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood,” he wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
We need more seriousness, less noise, and leaders who are looking forward, not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) November 16, 2022
They weren’t the only ones unexcited by the former president’s official re-entry into national politics.
“Three billionaire donors have moved on and others are actively weighing their options. A number of former allies are staying on the sidelines. A long list of potential rivals — from popular governors to members of Congress — are seriously assessing their chances for 2024,” The Times summarized. “Even his own daughter has declined to get involved.”
What Trump’s 2024 chances look like are anybody’s guess this early in the game. Some insiders have noted that many grass-roots voters who supported Trump in 2016 and 2020 will likely do the same in 2024.
The RealClearPolitics average of polls has Trump in the lead for the Republican nomination by a solid 25 points. What that means this far out is debatable, although it should probably be noted that all three polls in the average were conducted by organizations that definitely don’t want to see the GOP win the White House in the next election — and what that means is debatable, too.
On the other hand, Trump’s support doesn’t seem to have grown since those elections, either.
“I am not seeing a riptide of support going out with the president,” said former Trump Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli.
Many people in the party probably agree with Tom Tancredo, a former Colorado congressman who told The Times: “I am on the horns of a [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis-Trump dilemma.”
“I guess it will just boil down to which looks more electable by primary time,” he added.
We can only hope Republican primary voters see it the same way; the country may not survive another four years of President Joe Biden.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.