Trump Defends Noem, Suggests She Maybe Didn’t Read Her Book ‘Carefully.’ She Did.

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VANDALIA, OHIO - MARCH 16: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump greets South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on March 16, 2024 in Vandalia, Ohio. ... VANDALIA, OHIO - MARCH 16: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump greets South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on March 16, 2024 in Vandalia, Ohio. The rally was hosted by the Buckeye Values PAC. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Donald Trump has weighed in on the Kristi Noem dog-shooting drama, offering the South Dakota governor, who was long considered on the short list to be Trump’s running mate until the past few weeks, plenty of bizarre cover for revealing she killed a dog and may have lied about a meeting with Kim Jong Un.

But before we get into that, some updates on the saga for those who may not be following the madness as closely as we are.

Noem’s new political memoir, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward,” started getting bad press as soon as excerpts of the book were published by various news outlets leading up to its release, due to seeming factual errors but primarily because the book features an anecdote about how Noem took her 14-month-old dog Cricket to a gravel pit and shot her for misbehaving.

Democrats, justifiably, seized on the moment. The Biden campaign’s rapid response team shared pictures of Vice President Kamala Harris holding a puppy and President Joe Biden walking his German shepherd. Several governors, including Minnesota ​​Gov. Tim Walz (D), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), also posted photos of themselves with their dogs with the caption, “Post a picture with your dog that doesn’t involve shooting them and throwing them in a gravel pit.”

Some Republicans also chimed in. Former Trump aides Alyssa Farah Griffin and Sarah Matthews, as well as Meghan McCain, all expressed disbelief. Even Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is engaged to Donald Trump Jr., appeared to subtly jab the South Dakota governor for killing her puppy.

But as if the dog-killing press cycle wasn’t bad enough, some pretty significant facts in the memoir have also been called into question. In a section of the book about meeting with international leaders, Noem wrote, “I remember when I met with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un,” she added. “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 part about Kim Jong Un was quickly debunked by The Dakota Scout and other experts who were able to determine that the governor never met the reclusive autocrat, who rarely leaves his home country. Reporters also raised questions about an excerpt in which Noem claimed to have canceled a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. After days of scrutiny, Noem’s spokesperson Ian Fury said in a statement that it was an error to include Kim Jong Un in a list of world leaders whom Noem has met and that the publisher would correct any future editions of the book, according to the Associated Press. Fury also described the mistakes as “two small errors,” and said, “This has been communicated to the ghostwriter and editor.”

“The book has not been released yet, and all future editions will be corrected,” Fury added.

As the backlash grew, the publishing company, Center Street, an imprint of Hatchette Book Group, also chimed in.

“At the request of Governor Noem, we are removing a passage regarding Kim Jong Un from her book No Going Back, upon reprint of the print edition and as soon as technically possible on the audio and ebook editions,” the publisher wrote in a social media announcement. “Further questions about the passage should be referred to the author.”

Up until this week, the former president and 2024 candidate — who has not yet announced his VP pick — has stayed far away from Noem’s dog killing drama. But during an interview on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show this week, Trump addressed the scandal and placed the blame for the toxic anecdote and the Kim Jong Un errors on a ghostwriter. He then suggested that she didn’t read the final manuscript “carefully” enough.

“Sometimes you do books and you have some guy writing a book, and you maybe don’t read it as carefully. You know, you have ghostwriters too. They help you. And they, in this case, didn’t help too much,” Trump said.

He continued, praising her. “Now, she’s terrific. Look, she’s been a supporter of mine from day one. She did a great job as governor … I think she’s terrific. Couple of rough stories, there’s no question about it, and when explained, 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. She had a bad week. We all have bad weeks.”

The problem with Trump’s logic — the ghostwriter made up some stuff — is Noem had to have read the book carefully. Out loud, even. Both the Hatchette Book Group and Amazon list the governor as the narrator of the audiobook version of her book (which our colleague Hunter Walker first brought to our attention). We even downloaded the audible version and listened to sections of it ourselves to confirm it’s her. It also appears that Center Street has already acted on at least one of the edits it said it would make to the audiobook. The entire chapter that includes the dog killing anecdote — entitled “Bad Day to be a Goat” in the physical version of the book — is not listed as a chapter in the audiobook version.

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