Kristi Noem fires back at Seattle mayor: Families there are 'under attack' due to 'lack of leadership'

Gov. Noem: Republicans believe rule of law should be upheld, Democrats don’t

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem responds to MSNBC fact-checking her RNC speech, speaks out against crime and violence in cities.

Families that live in Seattle are “under attack” due to “very poor leadership that has its priorities screwed up,” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said on Thursday, reacting to criticism from the city’s mayor.

Noem made the comment on “Fox & Friends” the morning after she opened the third night of the 2020 Republican National Convention by painting a dark portrait of American cities amid the widespread unrest and violence gripping many of them following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and, more recently, the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

“It took 244 years to build this great nation, flaws and all, but we stand to lose it in a tiny fraction of that time if we continue down the path taken by the Democrats and their radical supporters,” Noem said during her speech.

"From Seatle and Portland to Washington and New York, Democrat-run cities across this country are being overun by violent mobs," Noem added. "The violence is rampant. There's looting, chaos, destruction, and murder. People who can afford to flee have fled but the people that can't, good hard-working Americans, are left to fend for themselves."

MSNBC on Wednesday attempted to do a "reality check" on Noem's remarks at the Republican National Convention about the ongoing violence in certain cities.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow cut into the network's RNC coverage to call Noem's claims "very wrong." And joining her by phone to react to the South Dakota governor's remarks was Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.


"Her caricature of the great cities across America is not only wrong, it's purposefully wrong," Durkan said, encouraging Noem to visit her city. "Seattle is a city that I raised my two children in and I would not have raised them anywhere else."

Fox News Host Brian Kilmeade noted on Thursday that Seattle “already hit their murder total of last year” and that dozens of businesses “have permanently shut down” in the city.

The Seattle Times reported that as of August there have been at least 28 homicides in 2020, “matching the number for all of last year.”

He then asked Noem, “What reality is she [Durkan] in?”

“Seattle has dramatically changed,” Noem said in response, pointing to the increase in violent crime in the city.

“So maybe the Seattle she [Durkan] raised her children in was different years ago, but today, the families that live there, they’re under attack and this is one of those things that we need to have an honest conversation about and really recognize that it comes from lack of leadership, very poor leadership that has its priorities screwed up,” Noem said.

Last month, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP, was dismantled in Seattle.

Hundreds camped out and held space in six city blocks for nearly three weeks in June until at least four shootings and two deaths drove city officials to break up the “no-cop co-op” and reclaim the East Precinct left abandoned following violent clashes between officers and protesters earlier in the month.

Noem said, “You look at what’s happening on the streets every single day” in cities, including Seattle, “and normal everyday people don’t want any part of it.”

“In fact, no mother wants to have her children be raised on the streets of Portland or Seattle right now because of the unrest, because of the violence and it’s not American,” she continued. “So we truly believe in the rule of law and it being upheld and that’s the difference right now today between the Republican and the Democrat parties.”


She noted that in contrast, families and businesses are moving to South Dakota "every day."

“It’s a wonderful place to be,” Noem said. “I’m thrilled to be there full-time and it’s where my family will always live.”

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and Joseph Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

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