The most divisive president in modern history has his counterpart in South Dakota. Gov. Kristi Noem was elected by the slimmest majority in recent history, so one might think that instead of self-praise, she would work to unite South Dakotans to address the serious problems we face. But rhetoric and reality are not the same.

Less than a year in office, she's already raising cash for re-election, and her fund-raising letters paint a disturbing picture. She rails against what she calls "left-wing radicals" -- "the other party" -- claiming that for the last eight years she "led the charge against the hard-left agenda," standing with President Trump "against liberals in The Swamp." In fact, the Washington "swamp" has never been deeper, more polluted, and more populated with corrupt and incompetent crocodiles than it is today, and Kristi Noem continues to play her part in creating and supporting the partisan mess.

Noem praises Trump for "expanding ethanol production." In fact, Trump's version of the EPA -- the environmental pollution agency -- is in bed with big oil, to the detriment of South Dakota farmers. She doesn't mention the president's "easy to win" trade war, which is killing prices for most of what South Dakota produces, and driving many farmers toward the brink of bankruptcy.

Noem claims pride in her "accomplishments," like her vote in Congress for the massive tax cut for the rich that has exploded the national deficit and debt for our children and grandchildren to pay; like her work to "improve our schools and health care." In reality, our schools remain terribly underfunded, a majority of our students remain unprepared for college and well-paying jobs, and Noem opposes extending available Medicare assistance for low-income working families.

Noem offers divisive rhetoric and demagoguery, not leadership and solutions. Welcome to her Swamp.

Jerry Wilson

Vermillion, Dec. 2