PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem got a hot Christmas gift from her staff — literally.
Noem’s staff gave her a Pulsefire LRT flamethrower with an engraved plate of the state motto “Under God, the people rule,” the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported Tuesday.
A video posted to Twitter on Sunday shows Noem, decked out in camouflage, using the flamethrower to torching a pile of cardboard boxes on a snowy farm. She shoots a final spray of flames into the boxes, raises her arm with a flourish and says “Boom, perfect.”
According to Tennessee-based ammunitions company MidSouth Shooters, a Pulsefire LRT costs about $650. Noem spokesperson Ian Fury said no tax dollars went toward the purchase.
The gift comes after a photo on Twitter showing Noem holding a flamethrower with the caption, “Is it too late to add something to my Christmas list?” went viral in 2020.
Some critics on social media have complained that while Noem was burning the boxes, media reports surfaced that thousands of American Indians on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations were trapped without heat during a fierce winter storm. Pine Ridge citizens had to burn clothes after propane deliveries stopped and there was no firewood.
At least one person, a 12-year-old Rosebud Sioux girl, died, because she was unable to receive medical treatment.
Fury noted that the state Department of Public Safety cleared roads on both reservations, coordinated transport for dozens of dialysis patients to Rapid City, helped stranded drivers and delivered food, firewood and propane to communities. Noem also declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to deliver firewood to the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux tribes.