Jul 11, 2021
Kristi Noem CPAC 2021 Speech Transcript Dallas, TX
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem gave a speech at CPAC 2021 in Dallas, TX. See her full speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference here.
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Governor Kristi Noem: (00:03)
How are you? It’s good to see all of you. You learn the most interesting things at CPAC, don’t you? How many of you have learned something so far at this conference? Me, too. Whenever I come, I get involved.
Governor Kristi Noem: (00:15)
Thank you. You’re so sweet. You’re going to be… Oh. Okay. Well, I don’t need to give a speech. Let’s just stand here. Okay. Throw the speech out the window.
Governor Kristi Noem: (00:28)
You learn the most interesting things here at CPAC. You get to have good conservative discussions, meet incredible people. What you don’t learn is that behind stage… Like Sid Miller was just teaching me how to use a tie pin as a different type of a pin anywhere on your clothes. Mike Lindell has the best tips for hairspray. Did you know that? And eye drops, and then he was… I mean, all kinds of tips from him, so if you get the chance to meet him, ask him for life hacks because that guy is hooked up. And he’s got it all in a pocket or in a pillow somewhere. Every time I see him, I get a pillow, and I go, “Mike, is this your pillow, or is this my pillow?” every time. I’m sure he’s so sick of me. Or I say, “Let me be frank. Let me be frank with you, Mike.” So I need to work on my humor maybe a little bit more.
Governor Kristi Noem: (01:20)
But listen, the only reason that I’m here today to visit with all of you is because I have a very big announcement to share with all of you. I do. I have a new job. Now, most people know that I’ve done a lot of different things in my life. I’ve been a farmer and a rancher. Probably what you don’t know is I used to do carpet cleaning telemarketing. I used to sell carpet cleaning over the phone. I used to sell vacuum cleaners. I was a home health nurse. I was a grocery store checkout girl. What else did I do? I was a waitress. I loved that job, actually. That was great. I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve also been in Congress, a legislator, a leader, and now I’m governor. But I think I potentially just got the most important job that I’ve ever had in my entire life. And that is that I am a new grandma.
Governor Kristi Noem: (02:17)
I have officially become obnoxious. Anytime somebody says something, I’m like, “Oh, have you seen pictures of her?” “Well, I saw the ones you posted yesterday.” “Yes, but she’s changed. She’s changed. She looks different today.” Her name is Adeline West Peters, and she is perfect. Yes. And I call her Miss Addie, and she calls me whatever she wants to call me because I love her so much.
Governor Kristi Noem: (02:41)
But honestly, listen, I hate the world that we are giving her. And so I’m here to ask you for help. I need you to help me save America. And that is literally what’s happening right now. When I first got elected to Congress, I knew that when I walked into the House of Representatives, which is where I got elected as a farmer and a rancher to represent South Dakota, I knew after discussions with many members that I was serving with people who believed in socialist principles, who believed in Marxist principles. They would have never said it publicly, and look at how dramatically that has changed today. Look at how dramatically they have embraced those policies. They give press conferences on it. So I’m here just to have a candid conversation with all of you about what is at stake.
Governor Kristi Noem: (03:28)
I look at Joe Biden’s America, and I don’t recognize the country that I grew up in. I do not recognize the country that I grew up in. We see crime and hate. We see division, lawlessness. It’s completely unacceptable. And I need all of you to join the team and to do more than what you’re doing. You’re doing a lot just by being here and embracing conservative principles, but I need you engaged to do more.
Governor Kristi Noem: (03:55)
I grew up in a world where people were proud to have jobs. They got up every morning and wanted to go to work. We prayed in school when I went to school. We looked at birth certificates and never had a debate over what the person’s sex was. We just didn’t. We respected our flag, we protected it, and we all stood for the national anthem. And that’s not the country that we’re giving to little Miss Addie today.
Governor Kristi Noem: (04:22)
I was thinking about how special it was where I grew up. Everybody knows I grew up on a farm and ranch. I had the most incredible parents in the world. They were not perfect, and they were tough. My mom, I think, spent most of her life just trying to keep us alive so we could keep up with dad because my dad was a go-getter. He was the kind of guy that woke us up every morning by yelling up the stairs, “Get up. More people die in bed than anywhere else.” So we got up, and I always… And then when he would send us to bed, and he would say, “Sleep fast.” And I remember being like a 10 year old going, “How do I sleep fast? I don’t know what that means.” But he was a cowboy, and he was incredibly tough, but he taught us life lessons that made us problem solvers. He gave us impossible things to do.
Governor Kristi Noem: (05:07)
And I was thinking the other day about this one story, if you’ll just indulge me for a minute. But it was when my brother and I were really young. It was during calving season. You’re going to get a real good farm story here. Sorry. Billy’s going to love it. I don’t know if anybody else will. During calving season and cows, when they have babies, get fevers. They don’t feel very good. I mean, how many women in the room know it’s a little rough to give birth? Well, cows get fevers, and they don’t feel good, and they don’t like their calves. And we had a cow that wasn’t letting her calf suck, and dad sent me and my brother Rob over to get her in the barn, put her in a shoot and make sure that that baby could suck, could drink. And so we went over there and with my dad, failure was not an option. It had rained that day. He was working in the shop. “Go make that calf suck.”
Governor Kristi Noem: (05:53)
So we went to the barn and as soon as we got in the corral with her, she took after us and literally wanted to end our lives. Chased us right back up over the fence. So Rob and I looked at each other, and we tried to divide her attention. I opened the barn door. He got her to chase him. We tried to get her to chase him into the barn. We tried everything. Went back over to the shop and said to Dad, “We can’t get her in the barn. She’s too mean. She just wants to kill us.” And he said, “You get back to that barn right now, and you make that calf suck.” So we drug our butts back over to the barn and went in there, and time and time again, that cow put us back up over the fence.
Governor Kristi Noem: (06:31)
Finally, we walked back over to the shop and heads hanging, disappointed. I think I was probably 13 years old. Rob was four years younger than me. And said, “We can’t do it, Dad.” And he was mad. So he was going to have to stop what he was doing and go back and help us get this cow in the barn. It was wet and muddy, so he took his cowboy boots, and he had these rubber overshoes. I don’t know. You guys remember rubber overshoes? Pulled them up over his boots, walked across the yard, didn’t even take the time to buckle them, climbed over the corral fence, got into the pen with this cow, and she immediately put her head down and went 100 miles an hour straight for him. She got right to him, and for some… Rob and I are watching from the fence. He puts her in a headlock. He’s got her in a headlock, and they’re going round and around the corral, and he’s got her in a headlock, and he’s going, “You stupid cow. Get in the barn. We got to…” And we’re just watching all this. And all of a sudden, he goes down, and this cow kneels on his chest and starts rubbing him in the dirt. And we think he’s going to die.
Governor Kristi Noem: (07:40)
And so we jump off the fence, we run up to her, we distract her, get her off of him. He gets up. He comes back to the fence. We’re all sitting up on the fence. He brushes himself off, and he says, “I had her right where I wanted her until I tripped on my overshoes.” And we’re like, “Sure, you did. Sure you did. Had her right where you wanted her.”
Governor Kristi Noem: (08:02)
But listen, it made me think of America today because president Trump had America right where we wanted her… right where we wanted her. And boy, have we tripped on our overshoes. Joe Biden has made us fall flat on our face. It is unbelievable to me. And we need to pick ourselves up and fix the damage that he’s doing. There are two things in this country that will destroy us faster than anything else. And the first one is the Marxist indoctrinations that they are teaching our children in our schools. That will destroy this country.
Governor Kristi Noem: (08:51)
I was the very first candidate in this entire country to sign on to the 1776 Pledge. Dr. Ben Carson and I took on this challenge, recognizing that we needed to teach our kids true honest history. That the 1619 Project, critical race theory, is hate, division, and it’s not American. It’s offensive. We do not have racism in our DNA in this country. We love each other, and everybody deserves to be treated equally.
Governor Kristi Noem: (09:34)
I need you all to go home and challenge every single candidate running for office to sign the 1776 Pledge. Make them do it. Everyone who’s running for office needs to embrace our honest history of America and America that was formed for freedom.
Governor Kristi Noem: (09:49)
Number two, the second most dangerous thing that’s happening is down at our southern border. A nation without borders is a nation without laws and is not a nation at all. So I want to explain something to you. I was the very first governor that when Texas and Arizona asked for help, that sent my National Guard troops down there to help. Thank you. Thank you.
Governor Kristi Noem: (10:27)
And I want to explain to you why I sent National Guard. National Guard are the best, and. Our country deserves the best they do missions like this all the time. You give them a mission. They’re trained for it. They’re equipped for it. They are ready, and they know how to complete that mission and then come home doing an excellent job. I, in South Dakota have had the top National Guard unit the last three years in a row in the United States of America. They literally are the very best that you have.
Governor Kristi Noem: (11:04)
And they will go and they will complete their mission. I won’t shortchange my law enforcement right now. I just won’t do it. I think it’s irresponsible right now with what we see across the country to shortchange law enforcement. They’re needed at home. They do their jobs. We send our guard because they’re used to the war zone that they’re going to see down there at the border. They’re prepared and trained for it, and they can deal with it. So I’m thankful that the governor’s asked and if the federal government’s going to fail to do their job, then governors are the ones who are going to have to step up and do it for them to protect this country.
Governor Kristi Noem: (11:41)
I need you to lead by example. South Dakota has been leading by example. When I ran for governor almost three years ago, I ran on the message that South Dakota could be an example to the nation. I had no idea it was going to happen during a pandemic, but we have to speak the truth as well. Now, South Dakota was the only state to never close a single business, the only state
Governor Kristi Noem: (12:31)
Governor Kristi Noem: (12:32)
We talk about rewriting history. Let’s talk about rewriting history. We’ve got Republican governors across this country pretending they didn’t shut down their states, that they didn’t close their beaches, that they didn’t mandate masks, that they didn’t get issue shelter-in-places. Now, I’m not picking fights with Republican governors. All I’m saying is that we need leaders with grit, that their first instinct is to make the right decision, that they don’t backtrack, and then try to fool you into the fact that they never made the wrong decision. So demand honesty from your leaders. Demand honesty from your leaders and make sure that every one of them is willing to make the tough decisions. South Dakota did not do any of those. We didn’t mandate. We trusted our people. Issued and told them that personal responsibility was the best answer.
Governor Kristi Noem: (13:20)
And this is a short rundown of what’s happening in South Dakota right now I have the least amount of hours lost by any worker in the entire state, least amount of wages lost by any worker in this state, the least amount of businesses closed in the entire nation in South Dakota. My unemployment rate is 2.8% in the state of South Dakota. I have the fastest growing GDP rate in the nation. Texas in 2020 last quarter, their GDP rate was 7.5%. South Dakota’s? 9.9% in our state.
Governor Kristi Noem: (14:03)
Thousands and thousands of people are moving to our state, and they’re moving there not because we have beaches and not for our weather. I don’t know why that’s shocking. They’re moving because they want to live somewhere where the government respects them. They want to be free, and they know they can do that in South Dakota. Hundreds of businesses are moving into our state. What we did in South Dakota is what conservatives have always said they believed. We just did it. And we proved that it works, that it works for families, it works for businesses, and it works for this country. So we will continue to make the tough decisions to make sure that we’re an example and that it is a story and a testimony we can tell to the rest of the country.
Governor Kristi Noem: (14:42)
But I’m going to ask you for one thing. I’m going to tell you one quick story because I know I’m already out of time. Back in 1773, there was a young man named Nathan Hale. Now, Nathan Hale, I’m sure you remember him, graduated from Yale with honors. He had five older brothers that quickly after that signed up to fight for the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. And just months after that. Nathan himself joined. It was interesting because at that time, General George Washington was leading the troops, and he was fighting for freedom in this country and to ensure that America could be the great country that it is today. When Nathan signed up, he was quickly promoted in the ranks. He was quickly recognized for his leadership, his character, his integrity, his willingness to step forward and do the tough jobs that nobody else wanted to do.
Governor Kristi Noem: (15:30)
Now, the British army was winning. They were gaining momentum, and the Continental Army was losing, and General Washington was in a tough spot. He had learned that the British army was going to be invading Manhattan quickly, and he needed to have inside information in order to think before they could act and stop and win that battle so that they could win the war. He gathered all of his troops together and stood in front of them. And he said, “I need a volunteer. I need one person who would be willing to go undercover as a spy behind enemy lines and gather the intelligence that we need to stop the British army when they invade Manhattan.”
Governor Kristi Noem: (16:06)
Only one person… Only one person step forward to volunteer for that mission. And it was Nathan Hale. He disguised himself as a Dutch school teacher, went behind enemy lines, quickly gathered information, was being incredibly effective when he was discovered. They say it was a British officer that maybe revealed his identity. Perhaps it was even his cousin who was still a British loyalist. Regardless, he was captured, brought before the enemy and quickly sentenced to die by hanging.
Governor Kristi Noem: (16:37)
Historians today still write about Nathan Hale like this. They’re incredibly impressed with his composure, how he kept his dignity in front of him throughout his sentencing, condemnation, and as he stood before those who would carry out his death. In fact, they say he never once compromised General Washington, never once gave up any information that would put the Continental Army or the Revolutionary War at risk. He kept his integrity, was honest, and did his job. In fact, they write that the very last words that he said was, “That I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
Governor Kristi Noem: (17:18)
Listen, people. We have no idea what heart is. You just don’t. We haven’t done anything like those folks who’ve made this great country did. You need to do more. You need to do more. I don’t think one person can save this country, but I think all of us have our part. I don’t know why I do what I do. I grew up dreaming of being a rancher, chasing cows, and riding horses. My husband says to me all the time; he said, “Kristi, you always pick the hardest things to do.” He said, “There could be four choices in front of you, and you every time pick the hardest one.” And I said, “I know, but it’s always the right one. Sorry. It’s always the one that needs to be done.” I’m going to ask all of you to do what needs to be done.
Governor Kristi Noem: (18:18)
Number one, this country is addicted to being offended. We are offended by everything everybody says, and I just need you to get over yourselves. Okay? Just get over yourselves. There are people that you quit talking to because they offended you, and you think they’re too liberal, too left, too crazy, too insane, whatever, that you’re not going to talk to them anymore. Get over yourself. Start having those conversations again because that’s how we win the hearts and minds of this country back.
Governor Kristi Noem: (18:54)
The second thing and this is the last thing I’m going to say. I need you to wake up happy. You woke up this morning in the United States of America. You are better off than 95% of the people in this world just because you woke up in this country. Be optimistic. Don’t watch the news. It sucks. It really does. It’s horrible. Be happy. People will be drawn to you by your optimism because we, as conservatives, are the only ones who really know what hope is.
Governor Kristi Noem: (19:30)
May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. Have a wonderful day.