Julie Frye-Mueller probably isn’t a name most people are familiar with. At least not most people outside of South Dakota.
For those of you who don’t know, she’s a pro-Trump, ultra-conservative, rank-in-file Republican who’s been serving in the South Dakota Senate since 2021, after narrowly winning her primary by less than 40 votes. Before that, she served in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 2017 to 2021.
Last month, she announced she was drafting a bill to outlaw drag shows in the Mount Rushmore State after a group of college students hosted one at South Dakota State University.
“This is absolutely sick, especially when families bring children,” she said during a board meeting at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City, adding “we do have plans to bring some bills before the Legislature this year to address this kind of thing.”
Unfortunately for Frye-Mueller, her grand plans to make drag shows illegal just hit a major roadblock.
Despite being a good MAGA Republican and voting with her GOP colleagues on pretty much everything, for some mysterious reason they all just turned on her, and it’s not clear why.
On Wednesday, Frye-Mueller was removed from her committee assignments and on Thursday she was stripped of all legislative power after “serious allegations” were lodged against her by a legislative staffer. What the allegations were, however, remains a mystery. Also unknown is when this sort of thing has happened before in the South Dakota Senate. It could be a historic first.
Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller (R-Rapid City) has been stripped of her two committee assignments because of an interaction she had with an LRC staffer earlier today. pic.twitter.com/evJoi5cJ8L
— Austin Goss (@AustinGossSD) January 25, 2023
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 27-6 to form a committee to investigate Frye-Mueller’s conduct and in the meantime suspend her from voting or holding other rights of an elected official. Republican legislative leaders refused to comment Thursday on the allegations that led to them suspending the Senate rules and stripping their colleague of her ability to represent her constituents.
The Senate Republican leader, Sen. Casey Crabtree said the legislative punishment was “brought after a lot of serious thought,” but offered little else on the allegations. Another high-ranking Republican, Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, said it was meant to “protect the decorum” of the law-making body.
In a statement, Sen. Michael Rohl, the Republican lawmaker who first brought the motion to suspend Frye-Mueller, said: “The Senate will operate swiftly and diligently through the process of an investigation and provide the opportunity for due process to all parties involved.”
Seriously, guys, WTF is going on???
I assume Republican state Senator Julie Frye-Mueller threatened an aide…while holding a gun. Since another Repub initiated the suspension the action must have been pretty overt. We should know or assumptions like mine will be reinforced.
— LauraBearish1966 (@LauraBeBusy21) January 27, 2023
Even Frye-Mueller doesn’t seem to know.
During a dramatic Senate hearing yesterday, she said, “I am not getting my due process. I have to defend myself. None of you have talked to me. I don’t know what was said against me.”
She added, “I know there’s an agenda behind this. This is going somewhere. I have no clue where, but I would ask you all to vote your conscience.”
There are reports the whole thing might stem from comments Frye-Mueller made to the staffer about vaccine mandates and a bill she sponsored that would limit schools from requiring additional vaccines beyond the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, but it’s not clear.
South Dakota Republican state senator who was stripped of her committee assignments Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller (R-Rapid City) told reporters that she had spoken to a member of the Legislature’s research staff this week about her views on vaccinations. pic.twitter.com/VJcjkBeyE6
— South Dakota Department of Propaganda (@SoDakTruth) January 26, 2023
Frye-Mueller’s rights and privileges in the Senate will remain suspended until the special disciplinary committee concludes its investigation. In the meantime, drag queens across South Dakota can breathe a sigh of relief. At least, for now.
Brings to mind the terrific 2022 miniseries, The Thing About Pam starring Renée Zellweger.
Thank goodness for this article. It had been almost 15 minutes since I read about yet another republican twat wanting to tell other parents how to raise their children, bashing the lgtbq+ community, and spreading their Covid misinformation feces all over the place.
I was starting to experience withdrawl.
Banning all drag shows in an entire state is a few steps away from taking away marginalized group’s basic human rights. This zaftig sister wife with her disturbingly long hair (very cult-ish) needs to go the hell away. Extremist politicians like her are turning off Republicans from their own party.
Yet again a RepubliQanon wants to stamp out the free speech and free expression rights of others based on gender expression, sexuality, etc. If this right-wing hag doesn’t like drag shows, don’t attend one! But don’t try to ban others’ rights because you are repressed and angry and unhappy and gripped by irrational fears and a violently illiberal mindset. Will these crazy @ss people ever get help for their problems and leave the rest of us alone?
most drag artists look better than she does
Someone please smack the crap out of her. She is jealous of drag queens because they are all prettier than her. Put her back on the farm compound with her “husband” and six other sister wives.
She’s a hate filled psychopath. Throw her out.
O.K. they want to ban guys wearing frocks lets retaliate and ban women wearing pants !
There is not a single day without a moron or a moron taking action or saying something stupid! American politics is really funny. It’s like watching a reality show where teenage boys and girls on an island paradise are screwing around and insulting each other, it’s so uplifting!