Noem says “I want the truth to be out there” after viral story of killing her dog

Washington — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said on Sunday that she’s “not retracting anything” after facing backlash for stories about killing her young dog and a false claim about meeting with Kim Jong Un, although she said the latter story will be adjusted in her book.

“I’m so proud of this book and what it will bring to people,” Noem said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “I’m not retracting anything.”

The Republican governor, who had been considered among a list of possible running mates for former President Donald Trump in his latest White House bid, has been widely criticized after writing in her new book about killing her dog decades ago, a story that went viral in recent days.   

She writes in her book that the 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket had shown aggressive behavior, while she was training the dog for pheasant hunting. She said on Sunday that she made the choice to protect her children from a “dangerous animal.” 

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on “Face the Nation,” May 5, 2024. CBS News

“I would ask everybody in the country to put themselves in that situation,” she said. “As a mom, I made a choice between protecting my children, and protecting them from a dangerous animal that was killing livestock and attacking people.”

But the anecdote has spurred questions about her political future. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Politico that Noem’s writing about killing her dog “ended any possibility of her being picked as VP.”

Noem defended the anecdote and the book more broadly, saying it’s “filled with vulnerable painful moments in my life.”

“I want the truth to be out there and to understand that these animals were attacking my children, that we live on a farm and a ranch and that tough decisions are made many times and it is to protect people,” Noem said.  

She added that the reason the story is in the book is because “people need to understand who I am” and some of the “difficult decisions” she’s made. She said that the story is “well known in South Dakota” and her “political opponents have tried to use against me for years.”

In the book, Noem writes that the first thing she would do if she got to the White House that was different from President Biden is make sure Mr. Biden’s dog, Commander, was nowhere on the grounds. Commander has since been moved to an undisclosed location after biting several Secret Service agents, but Noem writes that she would say “Commander say hello to Cricket.”

“Well, No. 1, Joe Biden’s dog has attacked 24 Secret Service people,” Noem said. “So how many people is enough people to be attacked and dangerously hurt before you make a decision on a dog?”

When “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan asked if that meant Commander should be shot, Noem answered “that what’s the president should be accountable to.”

The South Dakota governor has also faced scrutiny for details in the book about mentioning a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during her time in Congress that appeared to be an error. Noem said the anecdote shouldn’t have been included in the book and has been adjusted. 

“This is an anecdote that I asked to have removed because I think it’s appropriate at this point in time,” she said.

The book’s publisher confirmed Sunday the anecdote would be removed “upon reprint of the print edition and as soon as technically possible in on the audio and ebook editions.”

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