PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who attended a fundraiser in Minnesota where President Donald Trump appeared this week, was not in close contact with him or anyone else who has tested positive for the coronavirus, her spokesman said Friday.
Spokesman Ian Fury said Noem tested negative Tuesday night, the day before the fundraiser in the Minneapolis suburb of Shorewood. Fury said Noem “is tested regularly.”
Trump tweeted early Friday morning that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. The White House said the couple has experienced “mild symptoms” after testing positive.
The Republican governor has become a surrogate for Trump’s campaign and has developed a national profile within the GOP.
Some have been critical of her soft approach to the coronavirus epidemic in South Dakota where health officials reported all-time highs for the toll of COVID-19 Thursday, with 13 deaths and 747 more people who tested positive.
The first-term governor never shut down businesses, never mandated mask-wearing and welcomed two massive public gatherings to her state this summer — a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, which Trump attended, and the Sturgis motorcycle rally attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
“Bryon (Noem’s husband) and I are praying for President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, their entire family, and everyone fighting this virus,” Noem wrote on social media. “America is stronger together, and together we will get through this.”
(© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)