Kristi Noem Shows How Not To Audition For Vice President

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was once seen as a strong contender to be Donald Trump's running mate.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was once seen as a strong contender to be Donald Trump's running mate. The Washington Post via Getty Images

It takes a special kind of person to believe that bragging in a book about shooting a dog would boost their political standing.

But those seeking affiliation with Donald Trump have long perceived debasement as a means to endear themselves to the former president and front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

This is evident in the likes of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum showing up at Trump’s trial in New York City. This week, they stood before reporters and acted as if Trump, who faces charges of trying to cover up hush money payments to a porn actor just before the 2016 election — is the greatest offense to the rule of law in American history.

Others, such as Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), have gone on the Sunday talk shows to talk in circles about Trump’s long list of lies and alleged crimes.

They’re all behaving pathetically in pursuit of power. But in the case of Kristi Noem — the South Dakota governor who, like the aforementioned, so obviously wants to join Trump’s ticket — we are bearing witness to one of the most self-destructive political strategies employed in quite some time.

For weeks now, Noem has been taking hits over various claims made in her memoir, “No Going Back,” which was released May 7.

According to excerpts first reported by The Guardian, Noem wrote about her choice to kill one of her family’s dogs, a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket. Noem claimed the dog possessed an “aggressive personality.”

“I hated that dog,” Noem writes, describing Cricket as “untrainable,” “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with” and “less than worthless … as a hunting dog.”

After describing an incident that led to her concluding that she had “to put her down,” Noem described a male goat she felt was “nasty and mean” and that also had to go.

Noem is not the first person to ever tell a story about having to put an animal down, but rarely have I heard of anyone doing so with such glee and lack of remorse.

She even wrote that, after Noem sent Cricket to glory, her daughter arrived home and asked, “Hey, where’s Cricket?”

Noem believes that those anecdotes show how capable she is of doing what’s necessary — even when it comes to life’s most unpleasant moments.

After this excerpt was published online, Noem found herself widely mocked — and the ridicule only widened as one dismal interview followed another.

In her book, Noem also falsely claimed to have met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and French President Emmanuel Macron. When called out, she shifted blame away from herself and onto her ghostwriter.

About that: When you read the audiobook version of your memoir yourself, as Kristi Noem did, you should be able to say, in real time, “Hey, I didn’t meet any of those people.”

Yet, here we are.

As a memoirist, I generally don’t like to police what other authors choose to share and why.

On the other hand, what the hell?

I suppose we all share different goals as writers, but political memoirs are generally designed to bolster one’s national profile, so one rule above all is: Do no harm. Noem was warned years ago to not include the anecdote about killing a dog for a separate book. She ultimately didn’t and made the New York Times bestsellers list.

And now she’s known as the dog-killing governor who does strange veneer ads on social media.

That can’t be good for her standing — though, to her credit, Trump, a known dog hater, hasn’t completely thrown her under the bus (publicly anyway).

In an interview with radio hosts Clay Travis and Buck Sexton, Trump described Noem as a “terrific person” who is merely having a little bit of trouble right now.

“She had a bad week. We all have bad weeks,” Trump said in the interview, which aired Tuesday.

“Couple of rough stories; there’s no question about it,” he added. “Until this week, she was doing incredibly well. And she got hit hard, and sometimes you do books, and you have some guy writing a book, and you maybe don’t read it as carefully, you know. You have ghostwriters do it, they help you — and they, in this case, didn’t help too much.”

Meanwhile, some in Trump World have expressed to CNN that even before the brouhaha about Noem boasting about Cricket, she had already fallen off the shortlist of VP contenders.

It appears no one has informed Noem of that, though, as she continues to audition by way of speaking engagements. Recently, she went before a Trump fan club in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she discussed her book — but mostly tried to sell herself as a “good investment” and someone who would do “everything I can” to help Trump’s reelection bid. Later this week, she’ll speak at a California Republican convention.

Noem can try to regain ground. But it would not at all surprise me to find that Trump recognizes that as much as his base will put up with his abuse of others, they will not tolerate abuse from the likes of her — especially when it comes to their precious pets.