Anti-trans Gov. Kristi Noem is stumped why LGBTQ+ kids are depressed in her state

Perhaps she’s forgotten her recent signing of an anti-trans law?

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 26:  (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this screenshot from the RNC’s livestream of the...
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For someone widely considered to be a frontrunner in the new class of post-Trump Republican leaders, and a potential GOP presidential candidate in the not-too-distant future, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem sure is bad at politics.

To be fair, she’s a very successful politician, who has fought her way to the front of a crowded conservative field thanks in no small part to her willingness to embrace the worst, most undemocratic and punitively cruel policies her party has to offer. But watch this short segment of a press conference she had this week and ask yourself: “Is this someone who is actually good at their job?”

The dead-eyed stare, monotone response, the absolute inability to even pretend like this is something that interests her, let alone actually concerns her — are these the signs of someone who truly feels [very robotic voice] “sad” and wants to [robot losing battery power] “figure it out”? Hardly.

It’s important to keep in mind, as well, that Noem is almost certainly lying here. She likely knows full well why the LGBTQ+ youth community in her state is so depressed and anxious: her! She is, after all, the same person who signed into law a bill that essentially allows businesses to deny services to gay customers; just last month, she debuted a new ad pushing for a new round of anti-trans legislation in her state.

“To use the already very vulnerable population for political gain, especially for personal political gain in that way, is just disgusting,” South Dakota activist Mike Phelan told Pink News after the ad debuted. Phelan explained that his elementary school-aged daughter, who is trans, frequently would pretend her arm was broken as pretext for visiting her school’s nurse’s office and using the bathroom there.

Of course, when it comes to the transparently bad optics of Noem’s seemingly bad-faith “concern” for one of her state’s most marginalized, at-risk communities, there’s another possibility at play here — one which is equally damning in regards to Noem’s political acumen. If she truly can’t connect the dots between her actions and data suggesting LGBTQ+ residents of her state are overwhelmingly depressed, then perhaps what at first appears to be simply grotesque and deliberate callousness is actually genuine bafflement. Is it possible she’s really that dumb? Because if so, that doesn’t bode well for her suitability for leadership, either.