Kristi Noem Grilled on Nonexistent Meeting With Kim Jong Un


Kristi Noem still can’t explain why she included a random, unproven meeting with North Korea’s dictator in her book earlier this year, refusing to discuss on Sunday one of the anecdotes that may have killed her chances of becoming vice president.

Meet the Press guest moderator Peter Alexander grilled the South Dakota governor about the scene in her book, in which she recounts how she wasn’t intimidated by Kim Jong Un during their alleged meeting. Noem eventually removed the chapter from later editions of her book, though she has only given vague explanations as to how it ended up there in the first place.

It’s the second Sunday show appearance this month where Noem has opted for insistence over reflection in discussing her memoir No Going Back, which prompted a firestorm over both the Kim Jong Un allegation and an anecdote on killing multiple animals her family owned, including a puppy named Cricket.

They come as Noem’s name has disappeared from public reports about Donald Trump’s search for a vice president, one that has reportedly whittled down to three candidates: Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND) and Sens. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). Noem admitted to Alexander that she had not received any paperwork to vet her as a candidate.

Asked directly if she thought the dog anecdote cost her the VP slot, Noem said, “I would say that that was a story from 20 years ago about me protecting my children from a vicious animal. So we’ve covered that, and any mom in those situations when you have an animal that’s viciously killing livestock and attacking people it’s a tough decision.”

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The North Korea episode was removed after critics questioned how Noem could have met the dictator, a fact Alexander raised to her in their tense exchange.

“There was no evidence that that meeting happened,” he noted. “So how did it make it into your book, Governor?”

Instead, Noem opted for adamancy: “I’m not going to talk about that.”

Her answer prompted a sharp back-and-forth over Noem’s silence, as the governor has never explained how the episode ended up in her book (and subsequent audiobook) and why she decided to purge it from both. “You wrote the book, though, so why was that line ever in your book if that didn't happen?” Alexander pressed.

Still, the governor refused to engage with even the idea of transparency on a matter of potential high-stakes diplomacy and declined to say whether she met with Kim Jong Un at all.

“Just to put it to bed once and for all: Did you or did you not meet with Kim Jong Un?” Alexander asked.

“I am not going to talk about this,” she repeated for the third time.

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