Noem: GOP donor’s million dollar donation for National Guard was a ‘surprise’

Photo courtesy Dakota News Group

July 2, 2021

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says it came as a surprise when a billionaire GOP donor reached out with a $1 million offer to fund the National Guard’s deployment to the U.S. border with Mexico.

Critics say it creates a troubling precedent that effectively turns National Guard troops into soldiers-for-hire.

But Noem describes the transaction as a “wonderful” happenstance in which Willis Johnson, the billionaire Republican donor, gave her an unexpected phone call as she was deliberating where to come up with the money to send the National Guard or law enforcement officers to the border.