"[J]ust take a look at the numbers, they don’t lie"

Noem, who has received praise from conservatives for largely ignoring coronavirus restrictions and guidelines, got a standing ovation from the CPAC crowd when she boasted about ignoring the medical advice of experts and called out Fauci for supposedly being “wrong.” Appearing on CBS News’ Face the Nation, Fauci was asked if that sentiment was an impediment to the nation’s recovery.

“It’s unfortunate but it’s not really helpful because sometimes you think things are going well and just take a look at the numbers, they don’t lie,” he said. During an interview with Noem on the same program, anchor Margaret Brennan grilled the Republican governor and potential 2024 presidential candidate on her state’s poor performance with the deadly virus.

“So for your state, you have, if you look at starting in July, which was after that spring peak, you have the highest death rate in cumulative COVID deaths per million in the country,” Brennan said, adding: “I know you’re conservative and you care about the sanctity of life. So how can you justify making decisions that put the health of your constituents at risk?”

Noem, meanwhile, brushed off the question, instead telling Brennan that “those are questions that you should be asking every other governor in this country as well.”