eating their own

Something weird is going on in South Dakota as GOP leaders mysteriously turn on drag-hating senator

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.

AP reports:

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???

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.

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.