Gov. Kristi Noem Says Trump Should Pick A Woman VP to Show That He Supports Women’s Health

Gov. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) believes a second Trump presidency could help American women—but history suggests otherwise.Michael Brochstein/ZUMA

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Gov. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), has some advice for Donald Trump: He should pick a woman as his running mate.

“All the polls tell him in these swing states that a woman on the ticket helps him win—the polls just say that,” Noem said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

Noem has been floated as a possible Trump VP contender, but she’s reportedly no longer under consideration after a disastrous rollout of her book, in which she described killing her own puppy (which she defended again on Sunday) and lied about meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

State of the Union host Dana Bash told Noem in the interview on Sunday that CNN obtained a list of seven people under consideration for Trump’s VP—and that Noem is not one of them. But while she’s playing coy—”I don’t care, I love my job in South Dakota, I care about the fact that I want him to win,” Noem told Bash—she does not seem deterred: Noem said that she had spoken to Trump three times yesterday while out campaigning for him in Wisconsin.

She said that during her campaigning, she talked to women on the fence about voting for Trump, and told them they should vote for him because he’ll support their health, children, and futures. That is a particularly ironic sales pitch given that Trump’s actions in his first term compromised all three of those things by making abortion less accessible, and thus making it harder for many women to get health care, provide for their existing children, or build their careers.

Trump appointed the three conservative justices who overturned Roe v. Wade. That decision has led to abortion bans in more than a dozen red states, putting abortion access out of reach for tens of thousands of women, especially those who are low-income, teens, and those living in rural areas. If Trump wins in November, his plans for abortion are unclear: He has said he would leave abortion rights “to the states” rather than enacting any restrictions at the federal level—but he has not addressed whether he would marshal the Comstock Act, a 19th-century obscenity law, to enact a nationwide abortion ban, as some conservative power brokers have said he should.

But you wouldn’t know any of this from listening to Noem’s comments Sunday. Noem said a woman running mate would help the Trump campaign to connect with the quarter of GOP women who she claimed don’t know who they’ll vote for in November.

“Women aren’t monolithic—they don’t care about just one issue,” Noem told Bash. “They care about healthcare, they care about their children, they care about their futures, they care about having an opportunity to have a business and to have a career, and all of that is being threatened under Joe Biden.”

The reality, though, is far different. As I’ve written, the mounting abortion restrictions Trump enacted by nominating the justices that make up the high court’s conservative supermajority have devastated the health and futures of women and children. Children as young as 10 years old who have gotten pregnant as a result of rape have been forced to give birth, or cross state lines to get an abortion. Women like Kate Cox in Texas, and their doctors, have been forced to shoulder legal risk and take legal action in their quests to obtain abortions in light of life-threatening health emergencies. Advocates who support victims of domestic and sexual violence have been left in the lurch and without information on all their options to help survivors. And IVF access has also been imperiled, affecting couples who are trying to have kids.

Plus, research has shown that when women are unable to obtain abortions, they are more likely to experience long-term economic hardship and stay in touch with abusive partners, and their children are more likely to live in poverty and have worse development. And as my colleague Abby Vesoulis has written, the states with the strictest abortion laws offer the least support for families living in poverty.

So to say that a vote for Trump is a vote for women’s health and futures ignores the evidence base we have to the contrary. Let’s not forget, that also includes his bragging about sexual assault; being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a civil trial; and officially being convicted in criminal court after falsifying business records to pay off a porn star.

But Noem—who has been open about her own opposition to abortion rights—is no stranger to bending the truth: She also said on CNN that Trump “is not interested in going after political opponents”—despite the fact that the has, in fact, discussed doing just that by seeking to prosecute the Bidens, Hillary Clinton, and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), among others, if re-elected, as my colleague Inae Oh and I have written.

“Listen, I could be home in bed, or feeding my horses right now, or rocking my grandbabies, but I’m in Wisconsin because I believe President Trump needs to win,” Noem said. “The polling tells me he needs women out on the campaign trail carrying his message about how much he cares about them and their future too.”

On that, she is technically right; at the moment, most women don’t think Trump cares about them or their health. Recent polling has shown a majority of voters support legal abortion, that more women support Biden than Trump, and that the majority of women voters do not think Trump respects women.