Heading to Iowa, Noem says she’ll do ‘whatever I can’ to help Trump get ‘across finish line’

EXCLUSIVE – South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, on the eve of heading to neighboring Iowa to campaign on behalf of her friend and ally Donald Trump, says that former president is “the only person who can right the ship.” And Noem, when asked about potentially serving as Trump’s 2024 running mate if the commanding GOP primary front-runner wins the nomination, noted that she and the former president “work really well together” and that they’ll “talk about that when it’s time to make a decision on that.” The two-term conservative governor of South Dakota made her comments Tuesday in an exclusive national interview with Fox News Digital ahead of her trip to Sioux City. That’s where Noem will headline a campaign event Wednesday night on behalf of Trump with less than two weeks to go until Iowa’s Jan. 15 caucuses kick off the GOP presidential nominating calendar. Noem’s team says that over 2,100 people have RSVP’d for the event. GOP NOMINATION RACE: WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES FOR DONALD TRUMP Noem, who endorsed Trump as the two teamed up at a large rally in Rapid City, South Dakota, in early September, said, “I’ve always kind of felt like the people in Iowa were my people too, because we all have the same values and background and Midwest culture.” She said that “the Trump campaign asked if I’d be interested in going there and doing a couple of events right before the caucuses and we said absolutely. We’d love to go there and share our story about why we need President Trump back in the White House.” “The best gift I was given as governor was that he let me do my job when he was in the White House. He helped me solve problems during COVID. He let me make the best decisions for my people,” Noem emphasized. FOX NEWS TO HOST TOWNHALL WITH TRUMP IN IOWA NEXT WEEK And taking aim at President Biden, who defeated Trump in the 2020 election, Noem stressed, “I feel like I get up every day now, and I’m on defense.” Sources in Noem’s political orbit tell Fox News that part of her schedule on Wednesday is for the governor to meet with commitment to caucus people, but it also includes talking to officials who’ve endorsed Trump rivals with the possibility that a meeting with Noem may change their allegiance to Trump. Asked if she’ll return to Iowa again ahead of the caucuses to stump for Trump, Noem pointed out that her day job may get in the way. The governor delivers South Dakota’s state of the state address next week, as the state’s 2024 legislative session gets underway. But she added Iowa’s “not too far away, so it’s not so hard for me to run down there and do something if I’m helpful.” Noem, who speaks regularly with Trump according to those in her political orbit, said that she most recently talked with the former president on the phone on Monday evening. She said she told him, “I’ll do whatever I can that helps to get him across the finish line. I do believe it’s that important.” When she endorsed Trump in September, speculation soared about Noem serving as Trump’s running mate. But she said that’s not a topic she brought up with Trump in their most recent conversation. RAISING THE STAKES: ARE TRUMP’S EXPECTATIONS IN IOWA TOO HIGH? “He knows he has my support. I know I have his. We work really well together. We’re friends. We’ll talk about that when it’s time to make a decision on that,” she said. And Noem reiterated that if offered to serve as running mate, “I would consider it and I think anybody who gets asked should be willing to consider it.” Noem was interviewed as she starred in a new ad in South Dakota’s “Freedom Works Here” nationwide workforce recruitment campaign. The spot features Noem as a nurse to recruit more healthcare workers to the state.  “We’ve got close to 20,000 open jobs in South Dakota,” the governor says in the commercial. “South Dakota is the freest state in the nation. We work hard, but we don’t pay any state income tax, so you get to keep more of your own money.” The ad campaign launched last June, and the spots are running nationwide and in specifically targeted states on TV and online. “We did a lot of microtargeting across the country,” Noem told Fox News. “These ads are specifically targeted for job openings that we have in our state to people that would be interested in moving to South Dakota.” And she highlighted that “it’s the most successful recruitment campaign the state of South Dakota has run in its history. We’ve had thousands and thousands of people go through the application process. Over 2,000 are moving their families here and are committed and coming.” Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.
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