SIOUX FALLS, SD (AP) – Shortly after fireworks over Mount Rushmore disappeared into the night sky on Friday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem accompanied President Donald Trump on board of Air Force One despite his close contact with the girlfriend of Trump’s son, who had tested positive. for coronavirus.
The Republican governor sought to pass himself off as the president’s radar and adopted an essentially non-interventionist approach to the pandemic. She was not wearing a mask and chatted with the president as the flight returned to Washington, DC, according to spokeswoman Maggie Seidel.
Noem had tested negative for COVID-19 shortly before welcoming Trump to South Dakota on Friday. The day before, she interacted closely during a campaign fundraiser with Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. and a member of the Trump campaign staff. A photo on social media showed them hugging. The Trump campaign announced that Guilfoyle tested positive on Friday.
Guilfoyle’s infection has prompted some Republicans, such as representative Greg Gianforte of Montana, to take precautions against the spread of the coronavirus. He suspended the campaign in person for his candidacy for governor after his wife and running mate both attended a fundraiser with Guilfoyle earlier in the week.
Noem is not planning anything like this, said Seidel. She threw Noem’s decision to fly on Air Force One to show how to live with the virus. Seidel highlighted comments from the World Health Organization that the spread of the virus is “rare” in asymptomatic people. But that goes against the advice of public health experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who advise people to wear masks when interacting with people outside the home.
While the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in South Dakota has decreased in recent weeks to just 59 people across the state, Noem has doubled its relaxed approach to the pandemic. Even though Republican governors in states like Texas have decided to require people to wear masks, Noem did not demand distancing or masks during the July 3 celebration at Mount Rushmore, an outdoor event which few in the crowded crowd wore masks.
Friday night she said to the crowd, “Tonight, if you look to the left, if you look to the right, you will see that this crowd is not only from South Dakota, but is coming from all over this country . “
The influx of tourists for the Rushmore fireworks has worried some local leaders and doctors that the region could see a spike in the cases. Seidel said the governor was concerned about the other effects of the virus, such as unemployment and domestic violence.
When Seidel was asked about a Trump health risk due to Noem’s presence on Air Force One, she said, “I don’t understand why Governor Noem must now manage the President’s medical care.”
Source: AP News