White House hits back at Noem’s comments about Commander after it’s revealed her first publisher told her to drop the dead dog story

South Dakota governor suggested president’s dog should have been shot for biting Secret Service members

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 07 May 2024 00:29 BST
“She probably should stop digging herself in a hole”: WH press sec. criticizes Kristi Noem’s latest dog comments.

The White House has hit back at Kristi Noem’s suggestion that Joe Biden’s dog Commander should have been shot for biting Secret Service members, as it emerged her publishers had previously tried to prevent her from writing about killing her own dog.

The South Dakota governor was chided by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre who warned her that she should "stop digging herself into a hole“ over the bizarre issue.

At the daily briefing on Monday, Ms Jean-Pierre was asked about comments made by the governor suggesting Joe Biden's German shepherd, Commander, should have been shot for biting Secret Service members at least two dozen times between October 2022 and June 2023.

“So, how many people is enough people to be attacked and dangerously hurt before you make a decision on a dog and what to do with it?” Ms Noem asked on CBS's Face the Nation. “That’s a question that the president should be held accountable to.”

Ms Noem has been widely criticised for her admission in her upcoming memoir No Going Back that decades ago she shot her 14-month-old puppy, Cricket because she "hated" the animal. After shooting the dog, she said she dumped it in a gravel pit.

“What I would say to her is, she probably should stop digging herself into a hole,” Ms Jean-Pierre told reporters. She added that suggesting that Mr Biden should have shot his dog was "disturbing" and "absurd."

Kristi Noem blames media for controversy over her shooting of young dog
Kristi Noem blames media for controversy over her shooting of young dog (Fox News)

“Here, this is a country that loves dogs and you have a leader talking about putting dogs down, killing them,” she said. “And, that’s a disturbing statement to say.”

Ms Noem had been considered a top possible pick for Donald Trump's 2024 running mate, but her chances may be in question after the wave of bad press that has hit her.

It wasn't like Ms Noem wasn't warned that Americans wouldn't find her tale of shooting a dog relatable. Her publishing team reportedly killed the story when she tried to include it in her first book two years ago, according to a report from Politico.

Two people involved with that project told the outlet that Ms Noem wanted to include the story in her book Not My First Rodeo, but the team found the story to be in bad taste.

Her second book was published by the reportedly conservative-leaning Center Street, which seemingly had no issue with the story.

In addition to the dog killing controversy, Ms Noem has also been called out for writing about meeting 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.

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.

"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)."

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

"It was brought to our attention that the upcoming book ‘No Going Back’ has two small errors,” Ian Fury, Ms Noem's spokesman, told the New York Times. “This has been communicated to the ghostwriter and editor. Kim Jong-un was included in a list of world leaders and shouldn’t have been."

Kristi Noem refuses to comment on dubious Kim Jong Un meeting claim

The other "small error" was an account Ms Noem made of a conversation with former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who she said called her in 2021 to offer to mentor her.

She claimed the call ended with what she perceived to be a threat from Ms Haley.

"I’ve heard many good things about you. But when I do hear bad things, I will make sure that you know," she wrote, attributing the words to Ms Haley.

Ms Haley's office told both the New York Times and Politico that that the conversation was not an accurate telling of the discussion, and said Ms Haley has "long called and written notes supporting other women when they go through challenging times."

The correction will not be removing that story, however. It will just be attributing it to the year 2020 instead of 2021, Mr Fury told the Times.

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