Transcript: Rep. Kristi Noem on "Face the Nation," August 19, 2018

The following is a transcript of the interview with Rep. Kristi Noem, R-South Dakota, that aired Sunday, August 19, 2018, on "Face the Nation."  


MARGARET BRENNAN: Good to have you with us this morning Congresswoman.

REPRESENTATIVE KRISTI NOEM:  Good morning Margaret. Thank you for inviting me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Before we get to the elections I want to ask you if as a Republican you are comfortable with President Trump's decision to revoke and threaten to revoke security clearances on would appear to be political grounds?

REP. NOEM: You know obviously in this instance there was national security concerns. It appears that at times Brennan has put political purposes above national security. And I think what's astounding to me is realizing that there's over 5 million people in this country that have security clearances so there's a lot of folks--

MARGARET BRENNAN: What are the national security grounds--

REP. NOEM: --out there with important information.

MARGARET BRENNAN: because the White House has not provided any detail as to any potential violations by Brennan.

REP NOEM: You know obviously there's information the White House has that none of us are privy to. But I think it's important to know that the number one priority needs to continue to be national security and when we're looking at these types of situations that if someone appears to have put political purposes above national security then that's grounds for review.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. What I hear you saying is you agree with the president. So let me move on to the election here. In your race out in South Dakota you said that when it came to your primary you think you actually lost a few points because of your gender, that sometimes Republican men are reluctant to put a woman in that executive office. Do you think that's a problem just in your state or is that a problem nationally?

REP. NOEM: Oh overwhelmingly in my primary we talked about my experience-- my experience running businesses, starting businesses, serving at the state level and the legislature in leadership and then also my knowledge of federal policy and how it impacts our state. So that was really brought forward in that primary election, that's what we're talking about in the general. I think that as we look across the country women don't just want to talk about women's issues. We want to talk about everything that's important to our economy, to jobs, to our children's futures. And that's what we've focused on in South Dakota discussions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So what did you mean when you said that your gender cost you a few political points?

REP. NOEM: You know, there's always a time when someone is the first person to be nominated in a state and to run and to be elected potentially to a leadership position in your state where that's a new experience for people. So we had discussion on that. But overwhelmingly the people in South Dakota are looking for the best person to sit in that job that can provide the leadership to address some of the challenges that we state that we face. We are a very small state but that also means that we can be nimble and we have a unique opportunity here for some states and governors to stand up and address policies that will give us a testimony of what we can do in this country to put it back on its foundation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you think accounts for the fact that it is three times the number of Democratic female candidates who are running versus Republicans?

REP. NOEM: You know I think most of the time when I'm looking at women running for office they need to be recruited. I often think back to when we were going to be electing a new majority leader in the House of Representatives. You know that night as soon as there was an opening I started getting all kinds of texts from men that were serving in the house saying, "I want to be the majority leader. Will you help me? Will you support me?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is your party doing enough to recruit female candidates?

REP. NOEM: I believe so but I also think that across the country that we have folks out there who, you know, women tend to think I don't know if I could do that job. Men often think I can do that job in an amazing manner. So it's our perspective many times as women in political parties play an important role. Women oftentimes need to be recruited. They need to know that they're going to have some support there and that will help them on their path to victory.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman because you are a Republican. I want to ask you about the president's language. He has referred this week to a former senior White House official as a dog and a low life physically. He often references physical attributes and as you know he's been accused by at least 19 women of sexual misconduct. Does any of that make you uncomfortable as a member of his party?

REP. NOEM: You know, let me be very clear I don't think there's anyone that would say that they approve of any kind of sexual misconduct. And we've seen many important people in this country fall when they've gone through the judicial process of- of that being confirmed. That isn't where the president is today. But I tend to not focus on dissecting the president's tweets or his language. I'm focused on policies. That's what my job is. Is to look at solutions that will really bring relief to the people in my state, but also to people in this country. I worked very closely with the White House on tax reform. I was one of the last and lead negotiators in the House to deliver that and because of that, women owned. Businesses are better off today when as incomes are going up and that kind of results it makes a big difference in the day to day lives of the people in this country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman thank you very much for joining us.