Trump brushes off Kristi Noem’s dog-killing story and calls her ‘terrific’

Donald Trump is brushing off Kristi Noem’s decision to shoot her dog as a “tough story” - suggesting that she is not out the running as a vice president pick for the presumptive GOP nominee.

His comments come after the Governor of South Dakota revealed in a new memoir that she shot her dog Cricket due to his poor behaviour. She also called the 14-month-old dog “untrainable” and “less than worthless.”

Ms Noem later told CBS News that ending Cricket’s life was a “choice she made over 20 years ago” to “protect” her family.

But the story — which prompted backlash and ridicule, including onSaturday Night Liveappears to have left the former president unfazed.

Donald Trump (left) speaks to Kristi Noem (right) at an Ohio campaign rally in March 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump (left) speaks to Kristi Noem (right) at an Ohio campaign rally in March 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

“She did a great job as governor,” Mr Trump said in an interview with The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show which aired on Tuesday.

“The dog story, you know, people hear that and people from different parts of the country probably feel a little bit differently, but that’s a tough story, but she’s a terrific person.”

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.”

Mr Trump’s comments come after speculation that the controversy could take her out of the pool of vice-presidential candidates. “She’s DOA,” an ally of Mr Trump told The Hill last month.

The South Dakota governor has long been rumoured to be on the shortlist for GOP vice presidential candidates. Last week, leaked audio of a luncheon at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, obtained by Axios, revealed the former president’s positive open of Ms Noem.

“Somebody that I love,” Mr Trump said about the governor. “She’s been with me, a supporter of mine and I’ve been a supporter of hers for a long time.”

The former president’s running mate for 2024 remains a mystery. He is expected to announce his pick for the coveted slot this summer at the Republican National Convention. There, he will also become the official GOP presidential nominee.

Ms Noem faces heavy competition from other GOP lawmakers, however. And Mr Trump’s hush money trial has become something of an audition for congressmen seeking to prove themselves.

On Monday, Senators JD Vance and Tommy Tuberville — both rumoured to be in the running for the number two spot— arrived at the Manhattan Criminal Court to speak with reports, echoing Mr Trump’s rhetoric surrounding the trial.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell noted that the senators sat in court right behind Mr Trump’s son Eric Trump – at that point the only member of the Trump family to have shown up to support the criminal defendant.

“This will be the vice-presidential nominee audition bench, which is right behind the Eric Trump bench,” Mr O’Donnell said.