First on Fox: Noem to deliver high-profile speeches in DC, sparking more 2024 speculation

EXCLUSIVE – Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota will deliver three policy speeches in Washington, D.C., next week that are sure to grab attention and generate more buzz about the conservative governor’s possible national ambitions, Fox News has learned. The addresses will spotlight the threat to the U.S. posed by China, highlight Noem’s opposition to closing her state during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and focus on the American work ethic. Noem will tout South Dakota’s response to the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party in a speech Feb. 15, at the America First Policy Institute, which is aligned with former President Trump. The governor is expected to showcase the executive order she signed last month blocking South Dakota from doing business with certain telecommunications companies owned or controlled by “evil foreign governments,” which the order lists as China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Cuba and Venezuela. NOEM TOUTS SOUTH DAKOTA’S CONSERVATIVE SUCCESSES ‘CAN BRING HOPE TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY’ The next day, Feb. 16, Noem will headline a forum at the Cato Institute, a well-known Libertarian-minded think tank, on her state’s “freedom-focused” response to the coronavirus. Noem’s pushback against COVID restrictions as she kept her state open for business amid the worst pandemic to sweep the world in a century helped boost her already popular standing among conservatives. NOEM WARNS AGAINST DOING BUSINESS WITH CHINA On Feb. 17, Noem will speak at the Coolidge Foundation’s “Coolidge and the American Project” at the Library of Congress. Her speech there will focus on the American work ethic, and the governor’s expected to spotlight that, thanks to South Dakota’s booming economy, it was the only state to reject then-President Trump’s move to extend federal unemployment benefits during the pandemic. She is also likely to tout that South Dakota returned $81.5 million in unused Emergency Rental Assistance funds to the federal government. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who appears to be moving toward launching a White House run, will speak to the Coolidge Foundation a day earlier, Feb. 16. Pundits view Noem as a possible contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination or as a potential running mate. And the speeches will fuel more speculation about her political future. The former congresswoman spent eight years in the House of Representatives before winning South Dakota’s governorship in 2018. She was overwhelmingly re-elected in November in the reliably red state. A Republican source familiar with Noem’s thinking, who wished to remain anonymous to speak more freely, told Fox News the speeches are “a further indication of the seriousness of which she is looking at this 2024 race.” NOEM ON GOP MELTDOWN IN HOUSE SPEAKER RACE: ‘IT’S HARD TO WATCH’ “I’m focused on doing my job here in South Dakota,” Noem said in a Fox News Digital interview early last month when asked if she’s mulling a White House run.  But the governor added that “I’m going to continue telling South Dakota’s stories.” Noem emphasized that “we kept our state open” at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. “We balanced our budget. I’m going to bring forward and pass the largest tax cut in South Dakota history this legislative session. We protected parental rights. We reformed our education system, and it’s working. “Our state is thriving because we put forward and put in place conservative policies,” the governor argued before pointedly adding, “that’s a story that I think can bring hope to the rest of the country.” Asked if she’s not ruling anything out when it comes to a potential 2024 presidential run, Noem answered, “That’s fair to say. But there are a lot of people out there talking about running for president. I also know that politics changes quickly and things change on a dime on who’s going to run and who’s not going to run. I want the best person.”
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