Monday on FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson and Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) debated the merits of legislation banning transgender participation in female sports.
Carlson questioned if Noem had caved to the NCAA by not signing the bill into law. Noem argued such legislation, if made law, would make her state vulnerable to legal action, as well as punitive action from the NCAA.
Transcript as follows:
CARLSON: There’s been a big push nationally — the Biden administration is squarely behind it — to allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports. We’ve covered it extensively on this show. It’s very unpopular with the public.
It’s particularly unpopular in the State of South Dakota. South Dakota is one of the most Republican states in the country. Republicans essentially control the entire state.
So Republicans in the legislature there recently passed a bill to prevent this from happening, to prevent biological men from playing a women’s sports teams and the Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, who you doubtless have seen, said she was, quote, “Excited to sign it.” Now, she has changed her mind.
Governor Noem joins us tonight to explain why she has. Governor, thanks so much for coming on. I appreciate it.
So here you have this bill, which I think all polling shows is popular in your state. I think it will be popular nationally. You said you were excited to sign it. Big Business intercedes, NCAA, Chamber of Commerce, and Amazon then tell you not to sign it and you changed your mind.
I think a lot of our viewers are wondering your thinking on this and how exactly this happened.
NOEM: Well, that’s not true, Tucker, and thank you for inviting me to be on the show tonight.
I could sign the bill the way that it is today, and then also –b but it wouldn’t solve the problem. And that’s the real issue.
As I looked at the bill and examined it and have been discussing with legal scholars for many months on how to protect women’s sports. This bill would only allow the NCAA to bully South Dakota, and it would actually prevent women from being able to participate in collegiate sports.
So what I’ve done is I’ve asked the legislature through a style and reform the version, it is to ask them to change the bill.
CARLSON: I’m sorry to interrupt, but just for our viewers — I’m so sorry, can you just back up for one second for our viewers who haven’t followed this as closely. How would this bill prevent women from playing in South Dakota, if you would?
NOEM: Because what it would do is it would put a law on the books that would allow the NCAA to take punitive action against our state and we’re a small state, Tucker.
We’ve had to fight hard to get any tournaments to come to South Dakota. When they took punitive action against us, we would have to litigate and legal scholars that I have been consulting with for many, many months say that I would very likely lose those litigation efforts.
And I don’t think the families in South Dakota, I don’t think that people should have to sue many times over and over again.
CARLSON: Oh, so you’re saying — hold on, just to be clear, it’s not the bill, you’re saying that the —
But wait, wait, wait. So you’re saying the NCAA threatened you and you don’t think you can win that fight? They said if you sign this, we won’t allow girls in South Dakota to play. And you don’t think you can win in court even though the public overwhelmingly supports you nationally. And so you’re caving to the NCAA. I think that’s what you’re saying?
NOEM: No, that’s not right at all, Tucker. In fact, you’re wrong completely.
NOEM: I’ve been working on this issue for years.
CARLSON: Tell me how.
NOEM: In fact, several years ago, I fought — I fought USDA to make sure that for each rodeo and that the sport of rodeo could keep girls events, girls events and boys events, boys events.
So I’ve been working on this for many, many years. And back since November, I’ve been consulting with legal scholars and professors across the country, asking them, how do I protect women’s sports? And they’ve gone through the steps to how I would legally challenge the NCAA and keep them from bullying the State of South Dakota.
And what they’ve told me to do is that I need to build a coalition. So that’s why today, I launched DefendTitleIXnow.com, and that’s going to allow us to build a coalition of states that can fight the NCAA.
Listen, I’m sick and tired of the NCAA threatening states, challenging us and bullying us. And so we’re going to build a coalition of leaders, athletes and people who want to protect women’s sports and want to make sure that our women keep Title IX in place to protect their right to be competitive and to be rewarded by participating in these team sports and made sure this coalition can fight the NCAA to make sure we’re protecting Title IX.
CARLSON: But these standards far predate Title IX and I’m not exactly sure why Title IX is relevant or even really worth defending. I mean, this is thousands of years of commonsense and tradition, girls play girls sports, boys play boys sports. Why not instead, just say bring it on NCAA. I’m a national figure. Go ahead and try and exclude us. I will fight you in the court of public opinion and defend principle.
Why not just do that?
NOEM: Tucker, you’re preaching my sermon. That’s what I did today. Today, I, with Herschel Walker.
CARLSON: You vetoed the bill.
NOEM: Jack Brewer with Nancy Lopez, we all stood together.
I did not veto the bill. I did a style and form revision and asked the legislature to change it so that I can win.
Listen, I’m not interested in a participation trophy. I’m not interested in picking a fight that we can’t win. I am a problem solver. I come to the table and I don’t want to have talking points and I’ve been bullied for the last year by liberals, Tucker.
I’m not going to let anybody from the NCAA, from any Big Business, I’m not going to even let conservatives on the right bully me.
I’m going to solve the problem. I’m going to make sure that we’re building strength in numbers and we’re going after the NCAA and make sure that we’re keeping only girls playing in girls’ sports.
I’ve been doing this for years, and I’m going to solve the problem, not just pick a fight to pick a fight.
CARLSON: Well, but the legislature, you’re saying was just picking a fight to pick a fight, I thought that they were trying to codify what the majority of your citizens want, which is girls sports for girls and boys sports for boys.
Here, the NCAA comes in and says, if you do that, you’re going to lose a court battle. And so you said, well, the bill can’t go forward, you have a democratic process that arose from your own citizens. They want this bill, and you’ve stopped it. So I’m not really sure this is defending women’s sports, with respect.
NOEM: The bill, Tucker — Tucker, the bill that my legislature gave me is a trial lawyer’s dream. It creates more and more litigation and regulation that’s impossible to comply with for families and for school districts and people going forward.
What I’m interested in doing is making sure we’re protecting girls’ sports and we’re going forward to fight the NCAA, and what we’re going to do as well is if they don’t fix this through the style and form revision, I’m going to ask them to introduce a new bill.
If they don’t do that, I’m going to immediately bring them back into a special session and tell them we’re going to protect girls’ sports through K through 12. And then we’re going to go and fight the NCAA through a coalition to make sure that we can continue to protect Title IX and defend Title IX.
CARLSON: Very, very quickly, how would the bill as written make it harder as you just said for girls to participate in sports? You said it’s hard for them to comply with the requirements of the bill. What do you mean, for those of us who aren’t following this closely specifically by that?
NOEM: Did you — did you read the bill or the style and reform …
CARLSON: I did. I did.
NOEM: … message that I sent to the legislature what it said — what it said — I asked for changes for the regulations and how kids would have to prove if they are boys and girls. I asked them not to open it up to litigation.
If a child doesn’t make a team, they, up to a year later can come back and sue every member of that team in the K-12 system and the entire school district as well and continues suing so that they have the opportunity to play.
If we put the collegiate athletics on there, then we will get punitively challenged by the NCAA, and then we’ll have to continue to fight them in a Court District that is not friendly to winning. That’s what the legal scholars have told me for many, many months is that my chances of winning in court are very, very low.
My chances of winning this, as you’ve stated in the public opinion is extremely, extremely successful. So that’s why I’m building this coalition to make sure we’re taking our argument to the public and we’re going to tell the NCAA that this coalition will fight to make sure we’re protecting women’s sports.
CARLSON: I appreciate your coming on tonight. Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota. Thank you.
NOEM: Thank you, Tucker.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor