South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, a potential far right running mate for Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election, suggested on Sunday that there could be a violent altercation between GOP-run states and the Biden administration if President Joe Biden federalizes control of states’ National Guard units in order to address a disagreement about razor wire barriers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The barriers — which human rights advocates say are a violation of international law — were erected at the order of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to deter migrants from crossing into the state, and have resulted in numerous horrific injuries for migrants. After U.S. Border Patrol agents began removing the barriers in October, a federal judge intervened and ordered them to stop. A Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upheld that order, but that was reversed by the Supreme Court in January, which recognized that the lower courts ignored aspects of federalism — including the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution — in barring the federal agents from performing their functions.
Despite that order from the Supreme Court, Abbott has promised to continue to place the barriers on Texas’s border with Mexico. The Court’s ruling didn’t tell the state it had to stop, just that federal agents could dismantle the barriers without interference.
As Texas continues to escalate the situation, other anti-immigrant GOP governors across the country — including Noem — have pledged to support Abbott, including by potentially sending their own National Guard troops to the border. Noem has ordered a special session of her state legislature in order to discuss that option.
In an interview on Fox News on Sunday, Noem warned Biden not to intervene in the situation any further, saying that such a move would risk a “war” between the federal government and the GOP-led states.
Under the Constitution, Biden has the right to federalize state National Guard units to support his goals — such actions aren’t without precedent, as the National Guard was federalized, for example, in 1957, after Arkansas used its units to block school integration.
“If he’s willing to do that and take away my authority as governor as commander-in-chief of those National Guard, boy, we do have a war on our hands,” Noem said.
Noem’s violent rhetoric and opposition to the Biden administration is perhaps why former President Donald Trump is seriously considering her to be his vice presidential running mate in the 2024 race.
“Kristi Noem has been incredible fighting for me,” Trump said in a recent appearance on Fox News. “She said ‘I’d never run against him because I can’t beat him.’ That was a very nice thing to say.”
Notably, Noem’s support for far right border actions has led to opposition from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, which has announced that it is forbidding Noem from entering their jurisdictions.
“Calling the United States’ southern border in Texas an ‘invasion’ by illegal immigrants and criminal groups to justify sending S.D. National Guard troops there is a red herring that the Oglala Sioux Tribe doesn’t support,” Frank Star Comes Out, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, said in a statement addressed to Noem in response to comments she made last week about the border.
Star Comes Out also noted within his statement that Noem’s and other governors’ words were creating “a bogus border crisis just to help Trump get re-elected,” and that Noem’s actions were specifically meant to promote herself as “his [potential] running mate.”
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