Private GOP Donor Funds Kristi Noem’s National Guard Deployment to the Border

In a Trumpian political stunt, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced the deployment of 50 National Guard troops to the U.S. Southern Border in response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s pleas for help from other Trumpian states.

The mission will be funded by a “private donation” from an out-of-state GOP megadonor billionaire, according to a Noem spokesperson.

The undisclosed amount was paid for by Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation, a Tennessee-based non-profit who also donates to the NRA, various churches, and other GOP campaigns, including at least $550,000 to Trump in 2019 and 2020.

Johnson said his donation was intended 100% for the deployment. “I want to protect America and that’s it,” Johnson said.

The South Dakota National Guard will be acting on state orders with Noem as the commander-in-chief, permitting the Guard to act in law enforcement capacities, which is forbidden for Guard members serving on federal mobilization.

Using a private donation sidesteps potential issues and questions from constituents about how taxpayer money is spent.

Washington Post, Slate