May 5, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Kristi Noem won't say if she met with Kim Jong Un amid latest controversy

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said Sunday that an anecdote about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shouldn't have been put into her upcoming book, but didn't say that a meeting never happened.

The big picture: Noem's book, slated for release on Tuesday, has stirred up controversy for the Republican governor with accounts of killing a 14-month-old puppy named Cricket and a billy goat, as well as an alleged meeting with Kim.

  • Noem was believed to be on the short list of vice presidential contenders for former President Trump, but she has spent the past few days defending her decision to kill Cricket.
  • A separate excerpt from the book listed a number of world leaders Noem had met with while serving in Congress, including China's Xi Jingping, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kim.
  • "Through my tenure on the House Armed Services Committee, I had the chance to travel to many countries to meet with world leaders -- some who wanted our help, and some who didn't. I remember when I met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. 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 excerpt reads.

Context: Multiple media outlets were quick to cast doubt on Noem's meeting with Kim, and the governor's office later acknowledged that the North Korean leader was erroneously included.

What she's saying: "As soon as this was brought to my attention, I certainly made some changes and looked at this passage and I've met with many, many world leaders. I have traveled around the world. As soon as it was brought to my attention. We went forward and have made some edits," Noem said on Sunday's "Face the Nation."

  • Noem declined to talk about specific meetings she had with various world leaders, and never outright said she didn't meet with Kim during the interview.
  • "This anecdote shouldn't have been in the book," she said.

Worth noting: "Face the Nation" anchor Margaret Brennan asked Noem if she had any regrets about sharing the story of killing Cricket.

  • "The reason that this story is in the book [is] because people need to understand who I am and some of those difficult decisions," Noem said.
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