South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem slammed Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg for past comments that appear to belittle both farmers and factory workers. She said on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday that the “incredibly insulting” statements are “nothing but pompous ignorance.”
"You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that," Bloomberg said during a 2016 appearance at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School. "At one point, 98 percent of the world worked in agriculture, now it's 2 percent in the United States," he continued.
Noem, a Republican who grew up farming, challenged Bloomberg to do what farmers do every day.
“Who does Mike Bloomberg think he is?” Noem asked. “Every single day farmers work long hours, but they don't just have to deal with the labor side, they understand genetics and engineering, biology, chemistry.”
“It is incredibly difficult for farmers every day to feed the world and I'm just so proud my entire family is farmers. I’ve been a farmer my entire life,” she continued. “His comment is so out of touch with every day Americans.”
Bloomberg’s comments made in 2016 at a university forum continue a trend of past remarks that are coming back to haunt the billionaire's bid for the Democratic nomination. The former New York City mayor has been facing a litany of negative stories about old comments regarding women, African-Americans and others.
“What I’ve noticed with Mike Bloomberg is that he belittles the everyday American out there and I just don't know how that is a winning campaign for him,” Noem said on Tuesday.
Bloomberg's 2016 comments were in response to a question about whether it was possible to unite people in middle America with people who live on the coasts. One of the issues standing in the way of that, Bloomberg responded, was the inability of blue-collar workers to adapt to the information economy even if they have their education subsidized.
"The agrarian society lasted 3,000 years and we could teach processes. I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer," Bloomberg also said.
“I would challenge Mike Bloomberg to come spend a day with a farmer, you know, to ride horses, rope steers, go out there and drive GPS controlled tractors, computer program grain handling systems and then internationally market your commodities to pay your bills and continue to do what they do best,” Noem said reacting to the comments.
“So, yes, it's incredibly difficult work, long hours. [It’s] Incredibly insulting for him to make a comment like that.”
When host Ainsley Earhardt asked Noem how the message Bloomberg is sending is going to resonate with Middle America she said, “It’s just so different, it’s so different from what our current president does.”
“[Trump’s] on the side of everyday Americans,” she continued. “Mike Bloomberg does the opposite. He almost, every time you turn on your TV these days he’s got another comment insulting another segment of the population.”
“So, I just think farmers and ranchers across the country are incredibly hurt and offended by those comments and I would challenge Mike Bloomberg to do what they do every day,” Noem went on to say.
She also reacted to Bloomberg’s 2020 campaign senior adviser Tim O'Brien’s comments the day before, defending the three-time New York City mayor's statements on farmers and saying they were intended to be perceived in a "historical context."
“Unlike Donald Trump, he is not going to make promises to rescue the farming community and then undermine them,” O'Brien told Fox News’ Ed Henry.
“I don't even know if Mike Bloomberg would be able to turn on our corn planter, it's just so incredibly difficult to run modern equipment and do what farmers do every day,” Noem said in response. “I'm proud of them.”
Fox News’ Yael Halon and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.