Politics /

With a Billionaire's Support, Gov. Kristi Noem deploys National Guard to the Southern Border

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is sending the National Guard members to the border

The attention-grabbing move comes after Governor Greg Abbot of Texas and Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona requested support on the Mexican border, including additional law enforcement personnel and resources such as helicopters and drones.

On Twitter, Governor Noem said “The Biden Administration has failed to keep America safe. We shouldn’t be making our own communities vulnerable by sending police to fix Biden’s border crisis.”

Fifty members of the South Dakota National Guard will deploy to the southern border. Willis Johnson, the GOP megadonor from Tennessee, confirmed “his eponymous endowment will donate an undisclosed amount to South Dakota’s Emergency and Disaster Fund to underwrite the deployment of up to 50 National Guard personnel to Texas for as long as two months,” according to The Daily Beast.

Johnson reportedly reached out to Kristi Noem after she announced she would be honoring the request made under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. He says he will only be offering financial support to South Dakota because he believes the state has fewer resources.

After a decade running a junkyard in California, Johnson built his estimated $2.2 billion fortune from “the damaged auto auction company Copart” which he founded in 1982. 

He views his donation as apatriotic and public-spirited endeavor” rather than a political move. Political participation is prohibited by the Internal Revenue Service by charities like the Willis and Reba Johnson’s Fund.

Kristi Noem previously served in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2018. Her website notes “As Governor, Noem has respected the rights of her people by trusting them to exercise their personal responsibility to make the best decisions for themselves, their loved ones, and – in turn – their communities.”

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds both announced they will send state law enforcement details to the Lone Star State, while Noem is the only one to send National Guard troops,” Business Insider reports.

In a written statement, Greg Abbott called on his fellow governors to join him in correcting the crisis at the border. “Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs, and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve.”

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