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Kristi Noem Cuts Short Book Tour Citing ‘Bad Weather’

May 08, 2024

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has cut short a disastrous book tour after receiving withering criticism for her story of shooting an ill-behaved puppy and unverified claims of meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un, RealClearPolitics is first to report. The book, released Tuesday, is titled “No Going Back.”

Noem sat for a series of in-person interviews in New York and was scheduled to travel later in the week to Washington, D.C., before canceling the tour, citing inclement weather.

“Gov. Noem has sold a lot of books on this tour and is back in South Dakota to be prepared for some potential emerging bad weather systems,” spokesman Ian Fury told RCP. Tornadoes touched down in the state Monday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Noem sat for interviews Monday and Tuesday in New York before returning home.

Noem was slated to sit down with RealClearPolitics on Thursday before her team canceled the interview and declined to make her available over the phone.

Once heralded as a rising star on the right, in one week the governor was reduced to a punchline. She provided all the material. “We were supposed to have Gov. Kristi Noem on the show tonight, but she canceled. Her staff blamed bad weather,” deadpanned Greg Gutfeld Tuesday night. “We go to locals for reaction.” The Fox News funnyman then cut to a clip of barking dogs.

Noem had billed her book as “a how-to guide” for political activism, pegging its publication to the ongoing veepstakes to join former President Trump on the GOP ticket. Calamity followed when an excerpt leaked to The Guardian, and what was planned as a national audition was overshadowed by the grisly stories the governor told about herself.

Noem writes of dragging a 14-month-old dog into a gravel pit on her property after the poorly trained animal spoiled a pheasant hunt and attacked a neighbor's chickens. She killed the puppy named “Cricket” with a shotgun. After dispatching the dog, she turned her attention to an unruly goat. Noem took a shot, but the billy jumped. She writes in her memoir that she left the goat tethered, retrieved more ammunition, then “hurried back to the gravel pit and put him down.”

Despite a growing firestorm of criticism, the author went ahead with her tour, sitting down on Sunday with Margaret Brennan of CBS News. The story from two decades ago, Noem insisted, showed her willingness to make tough decisions.

“This dog was a working dog and had come from a family that had issues with this dog and I had put months and months of training into this dog. This dog had gone to other trainers as well,” Noem said.

“So all of that is the facts of the story, and all of that shows that when you put someone in a position where they have to make a decision and they want to protect their family and protect children and other people from getting attacked from an animal that has attacked others and killed livestock, that’s the choice I made over 20 years ago. And that I didn’t ask somebody else to take that responsibility for me,” she continued.

Noem also appeared to joke in the book about euthanizing President Biden’s dog, Commander, who was removed from White House grounds after numerous biting incidents.

“What would I do if I was president on the first day in office in 2025? Thanks for asking. I happen to have a list. The first thing I’d do is make sure Joe Biden’s dog was nowhere on the grounds (‘Commander, say hello to Cricket for me’),” Noem wrote. The White House was not amused.

“We learned last week, obviously like all of you, in her book that she killed her puppy," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday. “You heard me say that was very, very sad. We find her comments from yesterday disturbing. We find them absurd.”

Perhaps more disastrous was the claim Noem made about traveling to North Korea and meeting Kim Jung Un when she served on the House Armed Services Committee in Congress.

“I’m not going to talk about my specific meetings with world leaders. I’m just not going to do that. This anecdote shouldn’t have been in the book and as soon as it was brought to my attention, I made sure that that was adjusted,” she said when pressed about whether the meeting took place.

The publisher of the book, Center Street, announced that subsequent printings of the book would not include the reference. An audiobook, which the governor narrated, is also expected to be edited and updated. The passage in question is brief and sparse in detail.

The North Korean anecdote is two sentences in a 260-page book: “I remember when I met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. I’m sure he underestimated me, having no clue about my experience staring down little tyrants (I’d been a children’s pastor, after all).”

Prior to the book tour, Noem made little secret about her ambitions for national office. She was quick to criticize the field challenging Trump for the nomination, and in February, the governor traveled to Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump and pitch him on joining the ticket. According to sources with knowledge of the meeting, Noem showed Trump polling from Kaplan Strategies that showed her boosting his chances in Wisconsin and Michigan with her as a running mate.

Doug Kaplan, the pollster who conducted the survey, cautioned in a brief interview with RCP that those positive numbers were from “a lifetime ago.”

Noem is now haunted by the dog she dispatched two decades ago. During a Tuesday interview with Stuart Varney on Fox Business, the governor became impatient with the host when he kept returning the conversation to how the dead puppy affected her chances at the vice presidency.

“Enough, Stuart. This interview is ridiculous, which you are doing right now,” Noem said. “So you need to stop. It is OK. It is. Let’s talk about some real topics that Americans care about.”

“I’m afraid we’re out of time,” Varney responded.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.
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