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‘Instead of blaming Trump, Obama should consider what led to 2016’

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) angrily responded to a passage from Obama’s forthcoming Memoir, titled “A Promised Land,” on Thursday.

The memoir, to be released November 17, is scheduled to be the first of a two-part series released by Penguin Random House, which paid a $65 million advance to Barack and Michelle Obama for the rights to publish both their memoirs.

In excerpts released to numerous publications, including the Washington Examiner, Obama contended, essentially, that Donald Trump’s election to the presidency was caused by an unreasonable reaction to his own presidency. Specifically, he blamed former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin of making racist attitudes toward his presidency mainstream.

“Through Palin, it seemed as if the dark spirits that had long been lurking on the edges of the modern Republican Party — xenophobia, anti intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, an antipathy toward Black and brown folks — were finding their way to center stage,” Obama wrote.

Additionally, in a passage that Noem took exception to, Obama implied that the “promise of America” had not yet been fulfilled.

In response, Noem, who is widely expected to be a contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said, “What a ridiculous message. Obama had 8 years, including 2 with full control of Congress. He sent our jobs to China, left our healthcare system in disarray, our foreign policy in shambles & our people divided. Instead of blaming Trump, Obama should consider what led to 2016.”

Noem’s national profile rose exponentially this year when she was criticized for refusing to implement many of the lockdown measures that were implemented in other states in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noem’s refusal to implement lockdown mandates was savaged by critics in the media, but it has boosted her popularity tremendously in her home state. In January, before the pandemic began, Noem’s in-state approval rate was an anemic 43 percent. However, by July, polls showed her enjoying a 62 percent approval rating in South Dakota. In April, residents of South Dakota even gave Noem a (socially distanced) impromptu parade that prompted a visibly touched reaction from the governor.