Kristi Noem goes full MAGA with lawsuits against Biden administration: report
Kristi Noem of South Dakota speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who was among the Republican stars at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in February, has been going out of her way to show her devotion to former President Donald Trump — from promoting his false and debunked election fraud claims to resisting pandemic restrictions in her state. Now, Noem is trying to show how MAGA she is by supporting lawsuits against President Joe Biden's administration.

Noem, according to the Associated Press, has filed a lawsuit against Biden's administration for blocking an Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore. And Noem has joined a multi-state lawsuit against Biden's climate change policies.

In South Dakota, Native Americans have applauded Biden for opposing a July 4 fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore. Biden agrees with Native American activists that fireworks pose a fire danger in South Dakota's Black Hills.

Oglala Sioux Tribe President Kevin Killer, in an official statement on May 3, said, "The Black Hills are sacred to surrounding tribes, and we applaud the Biden administration's decision to support the denial of the fireworks permit. This decision will keep citizens and visitors safe during this critical time during the pandemic, at the same time allowing our tribal citizens to observe their right to worship during a time of renewal."

Killer also praised Deb Haaland, secretary of the Department of Interior under Biden, for "considering input from local tribal nations and their desire to protect the Black Hills from contamination and the possibility of forest fires."

But the 49-year-old Noem doesn't see it that way at all, and AP reporter Stephen Groves notes how aggressively the Republican governor has been promoting her involvement in legal action against Biden's administration.

"Noem says she's simply acting in the state's interests, but the tactic has given her a chance to cast herself as one of Biden's most prominent foes," Groves reports. "She went on Fox News to announce the lawsuit over Mount Rushmore fireworks, and later joined star host Sean Hannity for a podcast titled 'Noem vs. Biden.' Noem told Hannity the only way 'to get fairness on this issue' was to sue the Biden administration."

According to Groves, "Launching lawsuits from the governor's office is a new strategy for Noem — and one that has drawn criticism from some other South Dakota Republicans." South Dakota State Rep. Steve Haugaard, for example, is a GOP conservative who considers the Mount Rushmore lawsuit a waste of taxpayers' money." And Groves notes that there has also been a rift between Noem and South Dakota's Republican attorney general, Jason Ravnsborg.

Haugaard told AP, "When the outcome is a foregone conclusion, then there is a better use for those funds…. Resources shouldn't be used for personal attention."