Friday, May 24, 2024

‘Killing Dog Was Political Suicide’: Kristi Noem Facing Backlash

HomePolitics'Killing Dog Was Political Suicide': Kristi Noem Facing Backlash

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In a shocking admission that has sparked outrage across the political spectrum, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has revealed that she once shot and killed her family’s dog, dealing a potentially fatal blow to her aspirations of becoming Donald Trump’s running mate in 2024.

The stunning revelation comes from Noem’s forthcoming memoir “No Going Back,” in which the Republican governor graphically recounts executing her 14-month-old wirehair pointer named Cricket after deeming the dog “untrainable” and a threat to neighborhood chickens.

“I hated that dog,” Noem writes, claiming Cricket had an “aggressive personality,” was “worthless as a hunting dog,” and “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with.” After the canine allegedly killed chickens by “crunching” them “to death with one bite,” Noem says she realized “I had to put her down.”

In a chilling passage, the governor describes leading Cricket to a gravel pit and shooting her, doing “the dirty work” herself.

The appalling admission has ignited a political firestorm, with Noem facing blistering backlash from both Democrats and Republicans — including from allies of her potential future running mate Donald Trump, who are aghast at her gruesome handling of a family pet.

“She killed her hopes of being VP with that one,” said a source close to Trump’s 2024 campaign, who, like several others, spoke on condition of anonymity to candidly discuss the private reactions convulsing Trumpworld. “Everyone around Trump is talking about this.”

Another Trump insider deemed Noem’s disclosures “pure political self-immolation” and proof of “desperation that President Trump especially doesn’t like.” A veteran Republican strategist called it “one of the worst PR handlings I’ve ever seen.”

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While Noem has defiantly refused to apologize, doubling down by portraying the canine execution as an example of her willingness to make “tough” parental decisions, the backlash threatens to derail her political ambitions just as she has aggressively maneuvered to secure a VP nod.

“She’s sort of put herself in the VP-or-bust bucket, and that’s a really bad place to be,” said a source familiar with the Trump campaign’s internal machinations.

The political world’s collective revulsion at Noem’s actions underscores the supremacy of “puppy love” as a cultural force that transcends rigid partisan divides. For a potential national candidate to so cavalierly describe killing a pet dog has struck an unexpectedly unifying chord of horror.

“In America we love beer, baseball, and dogs. It’s bipartisan,” said a Republican strategist aligned with Trump. “And to think that Donald Trump would think you’re tough ’cause you killed a dog? It’s the weirdest fucking thing I’ve ever seen.”

The swift and widespread condemnation pouring in from across the ideological spectrum proves that, when it comes to beloved family pets, the old political cliche is true: dogs really are the ultimate mobilizing issue that cuts across all demographics.

“This stuff is devastating,” said a source close to Trump’s 2024 efforts. “There’s nothing more popular in politics than dogs, and she killed one — and she continues to talk about it… That’s what’s baffling and shows out-of-control judgment.”

For Noem, whose brash MAGA messaging and uncompromising conservative bona fides had fueled speculation she could be an ideal counterbalance to Trump on a prospective 2024 ticket, the puppy furor represents a staggering fall from grace.

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Long seen as a rising Republican star skilled at harnessing Trumpian grievance politics, the rancher-turned-governor had cultivated an appealingly rural image of rugged Great Plains authenticity. Her vivid recounting of dog execution, however, has laid bare the dark side of that rustic persona.

Matthew Bartlett, a GOP strategist who served in Trump’s State Department, said the furor exposes the perils of Noem trying to project “some sort of Midwesternly strength” by broadcasting an unspeakable act of violence against a pet.

“Connecting with rural America to show strength and hard decisions could have been a true asset,” Bartlett said, “but shooting a puppy never is.”

While Noem has remained defiant in the face of the firestorm, her advisers have struggled to mount an effective defense — only compounding perceptions that her judgment is fundamentally impaired.

“They just don’t know how to handle this,” said a veteran Republican operative. “Confirming it yourself, and doing so in a book — this wasn’t a slip of the tongue — it shows kind of a string of bad judgment along the way.”

The bungled response has renewed scrutiny on the governor’s inner circle, and particularly on Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s famously combative 2016 campaign manager who remains one of Noem’s staunchest allies in MAGA-world.

Just a day before news of Noem’s disturbing canine confession broke, Lewandowski insisted the South Dakota governor remained in “the top three” contenders to be Trump’s running mate. But Noem’s vice presidential stock has plummeted so rapidly that even he may struggle to rehabilitate her standing.

For Noem’s diehard defenders in the MAGA-sphere, the fallout has been demoralizing proof that some transgressions simply cannot be spun or rationalized away, no matter how vigorous the efforts at whataboutism or diversion.

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While Trump’s most infamous allies like Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene have managed to weather serious controversies with their MAGA bona fides intact, Noem appears to have crossed an unforgivable line with her shocking personal anecdote.

As one source put it: “Haven’t seen a more public suicide than Jim Jones at Jonestown.”

The dog fiasco has also raised new doubts about whether Noem, who has not shied from implicating herself in her own ethical morass, has put any thought into projecting an aspirational vision that could appeal to a national audience beyond her MAGA base.

“What she put in the book is the most positive version of this story she could possibly have,” the Republican strategist said. “Think of it that way.”

For a politician seeking to market herself as a plausible heir to the Trump movement’s populist ethos, the graphic and unnecessary public retelling of how she once executed a family pet appears to be a spectacular example of snatching political defeat from the jaws of potential victory.

As of now, Noem’s unholy political immolation could have the paradoxical effect of reminding the country that certain acts, no matter how allegedly justified, remain irredeemably off-limits — uniting Americans of all stripes by violating an unspoken cultural norm.

Ultimately, Cricket the “untrainable” wirehair pointer may prove to be Noem’s most formidable adversary yet. By turning the dog’s violent demise into political kryptonite, her shocking confession has demonstrated that, in the arena of public opinion, some transgressions are simply unforgivable.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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