Kristi Noem’s Dog Murder Story Probably Killed Her Political Career, Too

In an excerpt from the South Dakota governor's memoir, she writes that she shot and killed her 14-month-old puppy. Now her chances as Trump's VP are reportedly dead.

Kristi Noem’s Dog Murder Story Probably Killed Her Political Career, Too

Last week, South Dakota Gov. and Trump veepstakes hopeful Kristi Noem shared an excerpt from her forthcoming memoir No Going Back where she recounts—in disturbing detail—how she shot and killed her 14-month hunting puppy on her family’s farm. The blowback has been massive… and entirely predictable. Still, Noem hasn’t apologized and instead doubled down on why she simply had to shoot and kill a puppy.

Now, according to a Monday report in the Daily Beast, Noem’s political career—and specifically her ambitions to be Trump’s VP—are effectively shot, too. One “Trumpworld source” told the outlet that Noem’s chance of being Trump’s running mate is “less than zero now.” Another Trump operative said “Everyone around Trump is talking about this,” and another told the outlet that Trump’s team was particularly concerned with how the attack ads against Noem would write themselves. Trump’s campaign is “fixated on the ads that would run if she were anywhere involved with President Trump’s campaign, regarding the dog,” the source said, adding, “This stuff is devastating. There’s nothing more popular in politics than dogs, and she killed one—and she continues to talk about it… That’s what’s baffling and shows out of control judgment.”

A source close to Trump also called Noem’s story a sign of “desperation that President Trump especially doesn’t like,” and another called it “a more public suicide than Jim Jones at Jonestown.”

In her memoir, Noem writes that she had to kill her dog, Cricket, because of Cricket’s “aggressive personality” and the fact that the pup apparently lacked any hunting skills. Noem writes about a time when Cricket escaped out of her truck and attacked a group of chickens, killing at least one of them (which actually sounds like a hunting skill, but sure!). “I hated that dog,” she wrote, calling Cricket “untrainable,” “worthless as a hunting dog,” and “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with.”

“I had to put her down,” Noem wrote. She then describes taking Cricket to a gravel pit and… shooting her.

Noem has continued to maintain that this story is some sort of flex that we should all be applauding her for. It’s an example, Noem says, that she doesn’t “shy away from tough challenges.” In a Sunday tweet, she wrote, “Whether running the ranch or in politics, I have never passed on my responsibilities to anyone else to handle. Even if it’s hard and painful. I followed the law and was being a responsible parent, dog owner, and neighbor.” I don’t know, it just sounds to me like instead of bringing a dog with aggression issues to a shelter or sanctuary, she really just… wanted to shoot a dog…?

It’s an awful, inexplicable story, and even more inexplicable is why Noem would choose to tell it. As the Trump operatives speaking to the Daily Beast and really anyone at all could tell you, dogs and pets are quite possibly the only bipartisan issue in America. Other Republicans—especially Republicans in Trump’s MAGA orbit like Noem—can get away with almost anything, from sexual misconduct allegations to literal human trafficking charges. But in these United States of America, as we’ve seen with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012 or Dr. Oz’s Senate race in 2022, animal abuse and specifically mistreating dogs is where pretty much the entire electorate—even Trump operatives—draw the line.

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