Trump VP contender Kristi Noem stands by killing her dog Cricket amid bipartisan ridicule

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem greets former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump before he speaks at a South Dakota Republican party rally in Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S. September 8, 2023. 

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem on Sunday attempted to spin a controversial anecdote about killing her puppy, revealed in her upcoming memoir, into a case for her political deftness as she vies to become Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick.

A Friday report from The Guardian described snippets of her memoir about her decisions to kill various family farm animals, including a 14-month-old puppy named Cricket and an unnamed goat.

“I can understand why some people are upset about a 20-year-old story of Cricket, one of the working dogs at our ranch,” Noem wrote in an X post on Sunday. “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.”

Noem has spent the weekend dealing with ridicule from both Democrats and Republicans since those anecdotes became public.

In both instances, she has stood by her decision to put down the animals, saying that Cricket had an “aggressive personality” and that the goat was “nasty and mean,” according to The Guardian report.

Noem’s Sunday defense comes as a last-ditch effort to quell the flurry of doubts that the situation has stirred as she competes for Trump’s VP nomination against contenders like North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Senator Tim Scott, R-S.C. and Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.

Over the past several days, people across the political spectrum have taken to social media to comment on the controversy.

Right-wing media personality Laura Loomer said this anecdote would be a death knell for Noem’s vice-presidential aspirations.

“She can’t be VP now,” Loomer said in a Friday post. “You can’t shoot your dog and then be VP.”

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign quickly seized the opportunity to issue a subtle dig on Friday, posting pictures of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris smiling with dogs.

Florida Governor and former GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis posted a call to action for people to adopt rescue dogs.

Noem’s animal killing is not the first time she has raised eyebrows in Washington.

In March, the South Dakota governor posted an infomercial-style video for a Texas dentist appearing to act as a commercial testimony for the business, despite holding public office.

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