Kristi Noem’s bid for top NRA job revealed as dog killing saga continues

Ms Nome allegedly offered to walk away from her governorship early if she was offered the NRA job

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 07 May 2024 17:05 BST
Related video: Kristi Noem refuses to comment on dubious Kim Jong-un meeting claim

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem was reportedly gunning for a top job at the National Rifle Association as recently as last fall, according to a new report.

Ms Noem – who saved future opponents time and energy by willfully choosing to include in her new book that she shot her dog decades ago – reportedly offered to step down as governor to take the position, a pair of sources told Axios.

The sources claim that last autumn, Ms Noem reached out to former NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre – himself no stranger to killing an animal and looking like a fool as a result – to offer herself up as the next vice-president or CEO of the organisation.

She allegedly said she'd be willing to walk away from her governorship early to take the role.

According to the sources, it wasn't a far-fetched idea; they said Ms Noem has been a known quantity in NRA leadership circles and that her name was reportedly floated shortly after Mr LaPierre resigned in January.

An official successor for the gun lobbying group has yet to be named. Andrew Arulanandam, a Republican operative since at least 1994, is the interim CEO.

Ian Fury, Ms Noem's spokesperson, told Axios that the report is nonsense and that she would have never considered leaving her position as governor.

"She loves her job as governor of South Dakota," he told the outlet.

The alleged NRA gig isn't the only job Ms Noem has had her eyes on.

Up until the dog story broke, Ms Noem was considered a top contender to be Donald Trump's running-mate in 2024.

Those hopes may have been dashed to the gravel pit alongside Cricket (the pet she says in her memoir No Going Back that she shot after several misdemeanours, including trying to bite her).

"She's DOA," an ally of Mr Trump told The Hill.

Kristi Noem reportedly pitched herself to take over the NRA, sources claim
Kristi Noem reportedly pitched herself to take over the NRA, sources claim (AFP via Getty Images)

On nearly every social media post she has made since the story broke, commenters have referred to her killing her dog.

“She’s basically taken herself out of the running to be VP,” a Republican strategist told The Hill.

The strategist reportedly was baffled as to why Ms Noem thought it would be appropriate to leave that story in her book. She even acknowledges in her book that including the story likely wasn't a tactical move.

“I guess if I were a better politician I wouldn’t tell the story here,” she wrote, according to The Guardian.

On the other hand, Mr Trump does like Ms Noem, and he frequently uses "dog" as an insult, so she still may have a VP shot. Audio recordings of Mr Trump musing over his potential 2024 running mates were published by Axios on Sunday, and included some praise for the South Dakota governor.

"Somebody that I love. She's been with me, a supporter of mine and I've been a supporter of hers for a long time," Mr Trump allegedly said about Ms Noem.

While she's waiting to find out if she'll be taking on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris later this year, Ms Noem will likely still be fielding questions about the details in her new book.

In addition to the dog killing controversy, Ms Noem has also been called out for falsely claiming to have met North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un while she was serving on the House Armed Services Committee. She also claimed to have cancelled a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron.

“I remember when I met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un,” she wrote. “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).”

The Dakota Scout, a publication in South Dakota, tried to verify both meetings but could find no evidence of either happening. After speaking with Mr Macron's office, they found Ms Noem never had a meeting scheduled with the leader.

Ms Noem's spokesperson later confirmed to news outlets that the story was not true and would be removed.

Mr Fury told The New York Times that the inclusion of the North Korean leader’s name had been a mistake.

“This has been communicated to the ghostwriter and editor,” he told the paper. “Kim Jong-un was included in a list of world leaders and shouldn’t have been."

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