Walz says neighboring Gov. Kristi Noem’s criticism of Target is ‘nonsense’ and ‘insane’

Noem criticized the Minneapolis retailer’s donations to a nonprofit that’s called for the removal of Mount Rushmore.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem appear on MSNBC and Fox News.

Gov. Tim Walz is continuing his victory lap in the national media spotlight as Minnesota’s 2023 legislative session is being hailed by left-leaning news outlets as a “laboratory for progressive policies” and a new version of the 1970s’ “Minnesota Miracle.”

But Walz made sure to take a brief break from tooting his own horn to throw some shade on two governors in neighboring states to the west — South Dakota’s Kristi Noem and North Dakota’s Doug Burgum.

During a Sunday, June 11 interview with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart, in which Walz touted a list of DFL “trifecta” legislative accomplishments, the Minnesota governor blasted his Republican counterpart in South Dakota, Noem, for her criticism of Target Corp. just a few days earlier.

In a Wednesday, June 7 interview on Fox News, Noem told “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy that the backlash Target has received in recent weeks following revelations that it’s been donating to a South Dakota-based nonprofit activist group that’s called for the removal of Mount Rushmore is “well-deserved.”

Noem even intimated that she supported those who have called for boycotts of the Minneapolis-based retail titan over the issue.

“I am like a lot of Americans,” Noem said during the “Fox & Friends” interview. “I love to shop at Target, we do. But we just can’t anymore.”

“While the rest of the country is worried about having fun and going out and shopping at a store, that store is fundamentally tearing down this country; and we have to have serious conversations about protecting our freedom,” Noem continued.

Walz downplays ‘woke corporations’

Just four days later, Gov. Walz spent a half segment on MSNBC’s Sunday morning program chatting with host Jonathan Capehart. The two took turns listing off the accomplishments of the Democrat-controlled legislature in Minnesota. Walz rambled a bit about a new universal school lunch program and paid family medical leave legislation, but then made an unprompted mention of Noem’s June 7 “Fox & Friends” interview.

“I’m in a neighborhood where a governor next door to me made the case that a rainbow on a t-shirt at Target is destroying our democracy,” Walz said. “That’s nonsense. That’s just insane, and I think most people here in Minnesota agree.”

Then MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart asked, “Are you talking about the governor of North Dakota?”

“South Dakota,” Walz said. “They are a little different. The governor of North Dakota, I guess, is running for president after a six-week abortion ban.”

“So, we’re in a neighborhood, I’ve been saying, it’s an island of decency. An island of sanity, of approaching things, that, we have the good fortune of being able to take for granted that women will be allowed to make their own reproductive rights. We’re seeing a march against this, of bigotry and hatred, and I think, here in Minnesota, legislators and the citizens of Minnesota said, ‘that ends at our borders.’”

While Noem never mentioned the other criticism Target has received from some conservative opinionators and organizations as of late — placement of Pride Month-related merchandise in its stores — Walz continued to refer to that issue to draw distinctions between his administration and those of his Republican counterparts in the Dakotas.

“When we put folks in office who are more focused on improving lives than railing on woke corporations, you get real results,” Walz said.


Hank Long

Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.