Gov. Noem faces withering criticism from anti-Trump GOP figures following dog killing story

 April 28, 2024

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem had often been mentioned over the past several months as a top contender to be former President Donald Trump's vice-presidential pick, but her chances appear to have been greatly diminished over the weekend.

Noem is facing intense criticism from anti-Trump Republicans, Democrats, the media, and dog lovers following her admission in a new book that she put down an "aggressive" and "untrainable" young hunting dog after it killed another family's chickens, The Guardian reported.

The governor defended her actions as representative of the unpleasant realities and "tough decisions" that come with farm life, but that explanation -- regardless of how grimly accurate it may be -- could prove insufficient to recover from the negative publicity she has received.

Noem revealed she killed an "aggressive" dog that killed chickens

On Friday, The Guardian published excerpts from Gov. Noem's forthcoming book, "No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward," which was focused on her telling of an incident in which she felt compelled to kill a young and unruly hunting dog.

Noem took Cricket, a 14-month-old female wire-hair pointer, on a pheasant hunt, only for that hunt to be ruined by the dog chasing the birds instead of pointing and not responding to recall commands, including via an electronic collar.

After the ruined hunt was abandoned, Cricket slipped out of Noem's truck and mauled to death several chickens kept by the family that owned the property, then tried to bite Noem when she caught the "dangerous" and "untrainable" animal that she deemed to be "less than worthless ... as a hunting dog."

"At that moment, I realized I had to put her down," Noem wrote of the incident and went on to describe how she shot the dog in a gravel pit on her property, along with an aggressive and uncastrated male goat that was "mean" toward other animals on her farm as well as her children.

Anti-Trump GOPers pile-on with anti-Noem criticism

The backlash to Gov. Noem's admission was fierce and swift, particularly from anti-Trump Republicans who despise her close affiliation with the former president who by all accounts was considering her as a top prospect to be his running mate, according to Newsweek.

Former Trump White House spokeswoman turned "The View" co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin said, "I’m a dog lover and I am honestly horrified by the Kristi Noem excerpt. I wish I hadn’t even read it. A 14-month-old dog is still a puppy & can be trained. A large part of bad behavior in dogs is not having proper training from the humans responsible for them."

Sarah Matthews, another former Trump WH staffer turned critic, shared Griffin's post and remarked, "When I saw tweets about Kristi Noem murdering her puppy, I thought to myself, 'Damn, one of the other VP contenders’ teams found some oppo,' until I realized SHE wrote about it in HER book. I’m not sure why anyone would brag about this unless they’re sick and twisted."

Then there was political commentator Meghan McCain, daughter of late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who wrote on X, "You can recover from a lot of things in politics, change the narrative etc. -- but not from killing a dog. All I will distinctly think about Kristi Noem now is that she murdered a puppy who was 'acting up' -- which is obviously cruel and insane. Good luck with that VP pick lady ..."

Chances to be Trump's VP appear greatly diminished

In response to the blowback, Gov. Noem linked to The Guardian's article and stated, "We love animals, but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm. Sadly, we just had to put down 3 horses a few weeks ago that had been in our family for 25 years. If you want more real, honest, and politically INcorrect stories that’ll have the media gasping, preorder 'No Going Back.'"

That explanation seems unlikely to sway the public opinion that appears to have dramatically turned against her, as evidenced by her plummeting stock in the Trump VP race, at least according to Polymarket, an online betting platform that tracks the chances of numerous contenders to be picked by the former president as his running mate.

Noem, who was sitting in second place with a 10% chance to be Trump's pick before the story was published, according to the Daily Mail, has since fallen to ninth place with a 4% chance, and now lags behind Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) at 22%, an unnamed man or woman at 12%, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) at 9%, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley at 6%, and former Housing Sec. Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at 5%.

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