There IS Going Back as Gov. Noem Changes Her Stories


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To promote her book No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem offered a revealing conversation with Margaret Brennan of Face The Nation and has also been appearing in other media outlets.

In the Face the Nation interview, Gov. Noem said that the 14-month old dog, a German Wirehaired Pointer, named Cricket, was a dangerous animal because she killed livestock and attacked people.

There’s no way to know if the dog named Cricket did actually attack people, as she did not write about that in the book, as she is saying today in her media rounds. She did write that Cricket tried to bite her and had an “aggressive personality” and needed to be trained to be used for hunting pheasant.

By taking Cricket on a pheasant hunt with older dogs, Noem says, she hoped to calm the young dog down and begin to teach her how to behave Unfortunately, in the book, she said Cricket ruined the hunt, going “out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds and having the time of her life”.

Noem describes calling Cricket, then using an electronic collar to attempt to bring her under control. “Nothing worked,” she writes. And she has said in the media that she was once a dog trainer herself.  There’s no record, however, dog trainer credentialing – but then again this was 20 years ago.

On the way home after the hunt, as Noem stopped to talk to a local family, Cricket escaped the Governor’s truck and attacked the family’s chickens, “Grabb[ing] one chicken at a time, crunching it to death with one bite, then dropping it to attack another.”

Noem writes, Cricket behaved like “a trained assassin.”

Through it all (meaning killing the chickens), Noem says, Cricket was “the picture of pure joy”.

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

So, she shot the dog.

Because this happened around 20 years ago, in her defense, the mind-set about dogs – particularly in rural areas – wasn’t the same as today. But she might have said that in interviews (and/or in the book) that if she encountered this sort of dog today, her choice would have been different. Instead, she doubles-down defending her actions.

Reporters have no way to follow up on the Cricket story, or how she proudly stated in the book at she shot a goat also because the goat allegedly chased kids and was smelly. The chapter about Cricket is called Bad Day to be a Goat.

Already, Gov. Noem Re-Writes

In the interview with Brennan, she points out Noem never said in her book that Cricket attacked people, but instead tried to bite Gov. Noem. She didn’t write that the dog threatened others, including children. Or maybe she will adjust words in her book last minute as she is adjusting writing about her meeting with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.  Gov. Noem wrote details of a supposed meeting, She said in the book, that the dictator had “no clue about my experience starring down little tyrants (I’d been a children’s pastor after all.”

Gov. Noem has removed that passage but refused to answer “yes” or “no” when Brennan and others have asked, “Did you meet with Kim Jong Un or didn’t you?”

Noem authored the book herself (with at least one ghost writer), and as an author I know editors will ask about authenticity. And she also had an opportunity weeks or months ago to pre-read the galleys to make any corrections at that time before media could ever catch concerns or could have caught errors as she was reading the audio version.

She talks about how she wanted to take responsibility for her dog without passing it on to anyone else or to blame anyone else. Yet, she is now blaming the media for backlash. She also blames the backlash on politics when I suggest it’s actually about ethics.

Brennan points out that this isn’t only about politics. For example, Newt Gingrich suspects that killing the dog and writing about the events as she did ruins any chances of her being chosen as a Vice Presidential candidate for Donald Trump.

Though she now describes herself as a former dog trainer, even doctors require other doctors. She might have benefited by not only a certified dog trainer ort a veterinary behaviorist or certified applied animal.  She also could have relinquished Cricket (who clearly wasn’t the best fit for her) to pure bred rescue or an animal shelter. It’s apparent in interviews, these are choice which she never considered.

Brennan says the very first thing she would do if she gets into the White House is to make sure Commander (a Biden family dog) was nowhere on the grounds, “Commander say hello to Cricket,” she writes, implying she would kill Commander (who has bitten secret service at the White House but has not been there for a long time). President Biden’s solution was to remove the dog from what was obviously a stressful situation, and to get the dog some help (though the actually bite numbers appear to be exaggerated – that isn’t the point).

She says, “I want people to know what kind of person I am.” I believe Gov. Noem has achieved this.

Here’s the Face the Nation interview: