Like Donald Trump, Kristi Noem is dangerous, not just to South Dakota but to America.

Inspired by Trump's successful exploitation of demagoguery to achieve and wield power, Gov. Noem travels the nation as an unmasked surrogate, promoting the president's lie of a stolen election -- and her fantasy that she might one day succeed him. Meanwhile, she has failed to confront the COVID crisis with policy and by example, and 1,600 of our neighbors and loved ones have died.

On Jan. 6, Trump sent a violent mob to attack Congress and prevent confirmation of the American people's vote. He told his "warriors" that our nation's Capitol harbored "enemies of the people," and they should stop "fighting like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back." Off marched the mob -- the Proud Boys, QAnon, Boogaloos and other white supremacists, domestic terrorists and thugs to break windows, attack and kill Capitol police and trash the Temple of Democracy.

Noem propagandizes on Parler, a social media site favored by right-wing extremists who promoted and coordinated the violent siege of the Capitol. Even after the seat of Democracy was desecrated and trashed by the Trump-inspired mob, 147 Republicans refused to confirm the American people's vote. But don't expect condemnation from Noem.

Throughout the Trump era, Republicans have faced three choices: look the other way (the frequent choice of Sens. Thune and Rounds); stand for truth; or stand with Trump. Noem long ago cast her lot with the Liar-in-Chief.

Trump has defiled our sacred Constitution, threatened elected officials who refused to support his lies, and incited an attempted coup. He has inflicted lasting damage to our democracy -- with the help of Kristi Noem.

Trump needs to go now, and Noem should follow soon. In the meantime, she owes an apology, not just to South Dakota but to America.

Jerry Wilson

Vermillion, Jan. 12