Kristi Noem gets a Trump-hosted fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago

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As leading Republicans debate how closely to tie the party to former President Donald Trump, likely 2024 hopeful Kristi Noem has already picked a side.

The South Dakota governor is greeting donors next week at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach resort, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO. The Mar. 5 gathering, officially a fundraiser for Noem’s reelection campaign, will be hosted by Donald Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Unofficially, it’s Trump Jr.’s first such fundraising event of the new election cycle — and an early sign of how the ex-president’s son intends to anoint the next generation of Trump acolytes. Of course, Trump himself has yet to declare his own intentions, freezing Noem and other potential 2024 contenders in place for now.

Noem has some shared history with the couple: She spoke at Trump’s July 4 event last year at South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore, which Guilfoyle had to skip because she tested positive for Covid-19 right beforehand. Financial disclosure forms made public last month revealed that Noem memorialized the occasion by giving Trump a $1,100 replica of Mt. Rushmore featuring his own face on the monument.

Noem is up for re-election in 2022 and has been mentioned as a future presidential candidate, although she only polled at 1 percent in a recent POLITICO/Morning Consult survey. Noem is also speaking this weekend at the Conservative Policy Action Conference in Orlando and will speak at a Republican National Committee donor summit in April, also in Palm Beach.

Public health experts have ripped Noem for her largely laissez-faire approach to dealing with the pandemic. South Dakota, with a population of just 885,000, has had more than 1,800 deaths from Covid-19. Compare that to South Korea, an entire country of almost 52 million people, which reported 1,573 deaths as of Tuesday.

The invitation for the March 5 event says that to be a host requires a contribution of $4,000 per individual or $8,000 for a couple; that’ll get you a private roundtable discussion, photo-op and cocktail reception with Noem, Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. There’s a $1,000 minimum contribution merely to attend the fundraiser, which gets you into the cocktail party.

A spokesperson for Noem declined to comment. Trump Jr. referred questions to a representative, who declined to comment.

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