Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota served eight years in Congress before being elected governor in 2018, but she’s happy not to be there this week.
“I’m glad I’m not there” Noem told Fox News Digital when asked about the inability of her former GOP colleagues in the House of Representatives to elect a speaker.
House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has failed to gain the support of a group of roughly 20 hard-right Republicans and has fallen short in 11 ballots for speaker over the course of three days. Republicans won back control of the House in the midterm elections but hold a razor-thin majority and McCarthy can only afford to lose the support of four Republicans to win election as speaker.
“It’s hard to watch, to see what’s going on,” Noem, who was overwhelming re-elected in November, said Thursday in an interview with Fox News Digital.
“I do hope Republicans can be unified around our shared values and elect Kevin to be the speaker and get past this,” Noem emphasized.
Noem had some criticism for Republicans opposing McCarthy, saying “honestly it would make me feel a lot better if these 20 members of Congress were negotiating for something that actually made the country better, that solved some of the big problems that we’ve got going on.”
“To see them arguing and negotiating on behalf of themselves or committee chairmanship or position of power is extremely discouraging,” the conservative governor added. “If they were arguing for reform that actually put our nation in a more secure spot, it would be much more understandable for me. So this kind of position and posturing for their own personal power is extremely discouraging for me.”
Asked if the intra-party war in the House could be detrimental to Republicans when the party tries to win back the White House and the Senate in the 2024 elections, Noem said “it sure doesn’t help.”
“It’s difficult work governing and Republicans have to prove right now that they can govern,” she said. “Electing someone to be speaker of the House is the first step and I’m hopeful they’ll make progress on that.”