South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is believed by many to be on the shortlist of potential vice presidential candidates for current 2024 GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. She endorsed the former president’s latest bid for the White House earlier this month, and now she appears to be dealing with a growing scandal involving a member of the Trump team.
Late last week, Daily Mail published an exclusive report that seemed to corroborate years of speculation that Noem and former Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski have been engaged in an extramarital affair since at least 2019.
On Monday’s show, Megyn was joined by Will Witt, author of Do Not Comply, and Turning Point USA reporter Savanah Hernandez to discuss the report and why it matters in the context of the Republican Party and conservative movement in 2023.
The ‘Clandestine’ Affair
According to the Daily Mail report published Friday, Noem and Lewandowski have been “involved in a clandestine affair for years.” The 51-year-old governor is a married mother of three. She and her husband, Bryon Noem, wed in 1992 and she has made ‘family values’ the centerpiece of her congressional and gubernatorial campaigns. Lewandowski, 49, has been married to 9/11 widow, Alison Lewandowski, since 2005. They have four children together.
American Greatness first reported the affair back in 2021. At the time, Noem dismissed the claim as “total garbage and a disgusting lie.” She said she was “proud of the God-fearing family” she raised with her husband. The story died down publicly, but Daily Mail claims it remained an open secret in GOP circles. According to the outlet, they’ve attended numerous Republican events together and have been seen canoodling and holding hands in public.
Neither party denied the affair when asked by Daily Mail. Lewandowski did not respond to a request for comment, while a Noem spokesperson issued a statement. “This is so predictable that you would attack Governor Noem less than a week after she endorsed Donald J. Trump as the 47th President of the United States,” it read in part.
‘Nuts or Sluts’
Megyn noted that she normally doesn’t comment on people’s “personal lives” and “personal problems” unless they “cross into her lane in the news,” and this situation now rises to that level.
Last June, she interviewed Gov. Noem when she was promoting her book Not My First Rodeo and actually brought up the allegations. “I am disheartened by the whole thing especially because I had Kristi Noem on the show when she was pushing her book, and I felt bad for her because of the rumors,” Megyn recalled. “I did not believe the rumors… I believed her whole story about her love affair with her husband.”
Megyn played a bit of their exchange:
Megyn: There was this absurd rumor about you allegedly having an affair with a Trump staffer years ago… and it was just out of nowhere, but that was from the right… Whenever there is a powerful woman, you can take it to the bank there’s going to be an attack on her and they say it’s either nuts or sluts. You’re crazy or your slut.
Noem: Yeah, absolutely… creating scandals out of nothing that don’t even exist… And now they have gone after my husband and myself. It’s, it’s difficult. I’d say it’s probably hardest on the family when someone is serving in this job. But I think it also makes you stronger… We honestly don’t even read the press that much anymore.
If the Daily Mail report is true, Noem and Lewandowski were involved at the time of the interview. “It’s annoying because I’m the one who said they do this to powerful women – I’m the one who said they call you a nut or a slut,” Megyn said. “And I feel foolish because it appears this was true, and she was only too happy to go along with my giving her the benefit of the doubt.”
Megyn would rather see some honesty from Noem. “I feel like if this is true, I would like it if she would come out and say, ‘I had trouble in my marriage. It happens. I’m embarrassed. I made the wrong decision. I’m going to seek my husband’s forgiveness, and I hope I’ll get yours too,’” she said. “That would do it for me. People have trouble in their marriages… but she is sort of out there… touting her romance with her husband and what a wonderful marriage they have.”
The Problem with ‘Big Tent’ Conservatism
Both Hernandez and Witt noted that it is all too common for politicians to present themselves in untruthful ways. “I understand how politics works and people show you what they want you to see,” Hernandez said. “Even in conservative politics… the majority of the people in this industry are not living out the morals and ideals and values that they are promoting… I hate to have to be honest about that, but it is a reality.”
Witt said that as the Republican Party and conservative movement have become more inclusive, traditional values have been lost. “Republicanism, conservatism has become a marketing tool for people… who are not conservative whatsoever [and] who don’t really have Republican values,” he said. “We now have this big tent conservatism instead of saying, ‘These are the things that we really stand for.’”
He said Noem could fall into that category and the bait and switch from politicians is why young people have become so disenfranchised with politics. “Why is it that so many young people my age look at politics and say ‘politics sucks,’ ‘politics is stupid,’ ‘I’m not going to go and vote,’” he asked. “They do it because they can’t trust anything the politicians say because we’ve elevated them to this place of famous people instead of public servants.”
In his view, that needs to change. “We need to be looking at these people as public servants,” he concluded, “and not these celebrities we’ve heralded them to be.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Hernandez and Witt by tuning in to episode 629 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.