Tennessee Republican’s Donation Funded South Dakota National Guard Deployment to Texas

National Guard on duty securing the Capitol building ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration.

A Tennessee Republican billionaire offered South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem funding to send National Guard troops to Texas to help manage the border crisis, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Willis Johnson, 74, who earned his fortune by creating an international junkyard empire, offered Noem $1 million to deploy the South Dakota National Guard to the southern border, according to the AP. Noem accepted the donation despite Johnson living in Tennessee, earning skepticism from experts who said the donation could set a precedent for wealthy individuals to essentially activate the U.S. military for political reasons.

“I didn’t know it would build into a bonfire,” Johnson told the AP. “It’s getting out there a lot more than I thought.”

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