VP contender Kristi Noem plays defense for Trump amid his many legal battles

Castlewood, South Dakota - Governor Kristi Noem recently got into a heated debate on CNN where she aggressively played defense for presidential candidate Donald Trump.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (r.) recently said she would still vote for Donald Trump (l.) even if he is convicted of a crime ahead of the elections.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (r.) recently said she would still vote for Donald Trump (l.) even if he is convicted of a crime ahead of the elections.  © Collage: TIMOTHY A. CLARY & KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP

On Sunday, the South Dakota governor sat down for an interview with CNN host Dana Bash, who asked Noem if she would still support Trump if he is convicted of a crime ahead of the presidential elections in November.

"If my choice is between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, every single day of the week, yes, I will support Donald Trump," Noem replied, adding she has been openly MAGA since 2016.

Noem – someone Trump has confirmed is on his "shortlist" of potential running mates – spent the entire conversation defending the former president, who is facing felony charges and several other legal battles as he runs for re-election.

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Lauren Boebert Lauren Boebert campaign in peril as Democrat challenger leads her in new poll

She described his current hush money trial in New York as "ridiculous", and echoed his unfounded claim that Biden and Democrats are using the trials to interfere with his campaign.

She also took aim at former Vice President Mike Pence, arguing that he "failed" Trump by refusing the then-president's demand to not certify the results of the 2020 election and daring to be critical about the request afterward.

But when Bash tried to press Noem on whether she would have followed Trump's orders that day if she were in Pence's place, she dodged the question.

"We should focus on our freedoms and continue to uphold our constitution," she responded. "So, you know, talking in hypotheticals is not something that I do."

The race to be Donald Trump's running mate

Presidential candidate Donald Trump (l.) shaking hands with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (r.) during a Buckeye Values ​​PAC Rally in Vandalia, Ohio on March 16, 2024.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump (l.) shaking hands with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (r.) during a Buckeye Values ​​PAC Rally in Vandalia, Ohio on March 16, 2024.  © KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP

Noem's comments come as a number of self-declared MAGA Republicans have been vying to be his running mate – or else potentially added to his administration's cabinet if he manages to retake the White House in November.

Trump has shared a number of candidates that he has been interested in, which includes a number of females like Noem and former Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, and even Black candidates such as South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and Florida Rep. Byron Donalds.

As the former president has made a habit of only surrounding himself with his staunchest supporters, the race to curry his favor has been mostly composed of allies trying to "out-MAGA" one another.

Donald Trump calls political opponents "human scum" on the somber holiday of Memorial Day
Donald Trump Donald Trump calls political opponents "human scum" on the somber holiday of Memorial Day

It seems to be a prerequisite for all VP candidates to openly denounce the results of the 2020 elections, and argue that it was "stolen."

This pattern can be seen in Ohio Rep. JD Vance, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who in February proposed a legislative effort to absolve Trump of any accountability for January 6.

Both Vance and Stefanik have also openly stated they would have followed Trump's orders if they were in Pence's place on January 6.

Trump has been quiet about his running mate in recent weeks since his criminal trials have taken over his attention, but he will probably make the announcement soon as November is right around the corner.

Cover photo: Collage: TIMOTHY A. CLARY & KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP

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