Kristi Noem Rides Into Sturgis Taking Shots at Fauci: ‘Wish He Cared More About Southern Border’

(USA Features) South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem cycled into the annual rally at Sturgis on Monday following warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci and other federal health officials that the massive event will turn into a COVID-19 superspreader event.

The rally, which has drawn an estimated 700,000 people to the state, has been the focus of Fauci’s ire since the event kicked off, even as he has reserved criticism of similarly attended events like Lollapalooza in Chicago late last month or former President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party, which reportedly drew hundreds of guests, most of whom did not mask up or socially distance, according to photos and video leaked online.

“I was not surprised to see Dr. Fauci pick on Sturgis,” Noem, a Republican who never locked down her state during the pandemic, told local media.

“He picked on it last year, this rally as well, and honestly, I wish he cared more about the southern border and what we have going on there with a lot of COVID virus cases coming across the border that are not being isolated and taken care of,” Noem added.

Noem was referencing reports in recent days claiming that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of migrants crossing illegally into the U.S. testing positive for the virus.

Reports noted that migrants who test positive are offered quarantine rooms but many are simply released into communities and towns. Officials in McAllen, Texas, reported last week that some 7,000 migrants who have tested positive for the virus have been released in their city.

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In an interview Sunday with “Meet the Press,” Fauci said he is “very concerned…that we’re going to see another surge related to that rally.”

“I mean, to me it’s understandable that people want to do the kinds of things they want to do. They want their freedom to do that,” he continued.

“But there comes a time when you’re dealing with a public health crisis that could involve you, your family, and everyone else, that something supersedes that need to do exactly what you want to do,” the Biden administration medical adviser added.

For her part, Noem repeated earlier ‘hands-off’ positions she has taken throughout the pandemic in which she has mostly allowed local communities to address it how they see fit.

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“I don’t believe that governors have the authority to tell people that they have to shut down their businesses and they have to shelter in place and to pass mandates on,” said Noem to KOTA.

“That should be used for personal responsibility and I’ve told the folks in South Dakota all the time that I will give them all the information that I have to protect their health,” she noted further.

She also said that her office is keeping a close eye on the spread of the new Delta variant of the virus as her administration “always has,” including monitoring hospital capacity as well.

Local law enforcement officials have said that this year’s rally, the 81st, has drawn more people than they have seen at previous events.