What you need to know about the controversies surrounding Kristi Noem’s ‘No Going Back’


In the span of a few weeks, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has made headlines around the world — though the tenor of the headlines may not be quite what she or her allies imagined. To help you sort through the controversies, here’s a guide to the passion surrounding South Dakota’s first female governor and her latest book.

Who is Kristi Noem?

Kristi Noem is the governor of South Dakota and a rising figure in conservative politics. She has served as governor of South Dakota since 2019 and previously served as a member of both the South Dakota House of Representatives and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Did Kristi Noem kill her dog?

According to her book, yes.

In late April, The Guardian reported on excerpts from Noem’s second autobiography, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward,” in which Noem wrote about having to put down a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket because it is ‘untrainable’. According to Noem, Cricket had disrupted a pheasant hunt and later attacked and killed a local family’s chickens during a visit by Noem.

“We love animals, but difficult decisions like this happen all the time on a farm,” Noem responded to X. “Unfortunately, a few weeks ago we had to put down three horses that had been in our family for 25 years.”

The response to the anecdote was swift and bipartisan, with Noem doubling down on the two-decade-old story, claiming it showed her willingness to make tough choices. She also claimed that past political opponents had tried to use the story against her and that it was a well-known story in South Dakota, although South Dakota Searchlight has reported that her opponents deny such a thing.

More: For Governor Noem’s political career, there’s ‘No Going Back’ after the dog story: Analysis

Did Kristi Noem lie in her book ‘No Going Back’ about meeting Kim Jong-Un?

In early May, The Dakota Scout reported on an excerpt from “No Going Back” that detailed meetings with multiple world leaders during her tenure on the House Armed Services Committee.

“I remember meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un,” she wrote in the passage. “I’m sure he underestimated me because he had no idea of ​​my experience staring down little tyrants (after all, I had been a children’s pastor).”

“It was brought to our attention that the upcoming book ‘No Going Back’ contains two minor errors,” Noem’s spokesman Ian Fury told the New York Times, according to reporting from USA TODAY. “This has been communicated to the ghostwriter and editor. Kim Jong-un was on a list of world leaders and should not have been.”

Another correction was also made to the book regarding the timing of a phone call between Noem and former presidential candidate Nikki Haley.

That anecdote may not be the only story that needs a fact-check. According to NBC News reporting in mid-May, a French government official disputed a portion of Noem’s book that detailed a canceled meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Fury responded to the report on

The Argus Leader has reached out multiple times to speak directly to Fury about the controversies surrounding Governor Noem’s book, and has also requested the opportunity to speak directly to Noem. The Argus Leader had not yet received a response on Monday.

More: South Dakota Democratic Party leaders are calling for the resignation of the state’s communications chief

Will Kristi Noem be Donald Trump’s Vice President?

In short: maybe.

Noem’s rising profile in conservative circles and clear loyalty to Trump made her an early favorite to win the coveted spot at the former president’s side during his final campaign for the nation’s highest office.

“She is a proven leader, especially through COVID,” Trump supporter Donavan Wallenburg told South Dakota News Watch near the Iowa Caucuses. “I’m a business owner here in Iowa, but there were a lot of times when I wished I had been in South Dakota with what was going on. She is also for farmers and the Second Amendment. She’s great.”

More: Who could be Donald Trump’s running mate in 2024?

Noem’s dog story, however, has left her confused. Trump himself has not spoken publicly on the issue, although larger outlets such as The Hill and New York Post have cited alleged unnamed Trump allies who claim that Noem now has no chance on a VP ticket, with the latter even quoting from an anonymous source. , saying the former president reacted with disappointment when he heard about the story.

Other candidates for Trump’s running mate include Texas Governor Greg Abbott, former presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Dominik Dausch of the Argus Leader and Riley Beggin of USA TODAY contributed.

Gabriela Velasquez is a public engagement specialist for the Des Moines Register and Sioux Falls Argus Leader. You can find her on X (formerly known as Twitter) @not_gabriela.