On COVID, gov offers inapposite example of 'Republican leadership'

Gov. Kristi Noem says South Dakota offers a great example of "Republican leadership" on the pandemic. Perhaps she hasn't thought this through.
Image: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks in Sioux Falls on June 22, 2020.Stephen Groves / AP file

When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, South Dakota is struggling right now more than almost any other state. Not only is South Dakota seeing its total case numbers soar to record highs, but on a per-capita basis, the state is among the worst in the nation for infections and COVID-19 fatalities.

It's against this backdrop that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) thought it'd be a good idea to ... brag.

"We're doing really good in South Dakota. We're managing COVID-19, but also our economy is thriving. I think people are really recognizing that leadership has consequences, and what we're doing in South Dakota is Republican leadership."

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean at Brown University School of Public Health, noted soon after that over the last month, South Dakota has seen its infection rates triple, with hospitalizations and fatalities climbing even faster.

The public-health expert added that COVID management in the state is clearly "going poorly."

But it was the second part of the governor's quote that stood out for me: "Leadership has consequences, and what we're doing in South Dakota is Republican leadership."

In other words, to fully appreciate GOP governance during a pandemic in action, look no further than South Dakota -- currently facing an escalating crisis, with worsening conditions by every relevant metric.

If this is Noem's definition of "Republican leadership," is the GOP governor praising or condemning her party?

Update: For more along these lines, it seems the editorial board of South Dakota's largest newspaper isn't pleased by the lack of leadership in Pierre.