Kristi Noem Keeps Refusing to Admit She Never Met Kim Jong Un

The publisher behind Kristi Noem’s new political memoir, No Going Back, may be wishing they could take it all back.

On Monday, Noem again ducked questions about her claims of meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, once again refusing to discuss her interactions with world leaders when questioned by a panel on CBS Mornings. 

“Did you tell your ghostwriter to write that?” host Natalie Morales asked.

Noem hedged: “No, I have specifically worked on policy for 30 years. And over that time I have traveled around the world and I have met with leaders around the world. And that anecdote — I’ve asked them to change the content.”

Morales pressed the governor to answer “yes or no” regarding ever meeting Kim, and Noem once again refused.

On Sunday, two days before the book’s release, Center Street Publishing, a subsidiary of Hachette Livre specializing in right-wing grievance literature, announced that it would be removing an anecdote in which the South Dakota governor falsely claimed to have met Kim Jong Un.

“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 an announcement on social media.

“Further questions about the passage should be referred to the author.”

Noem is receiving plenty of questions about inconsistencies and controversial anecdotes already identified in No Going Back. The widespread backlash around the book over Noem’s gleeful description of executing a 14-month-old hunting dog named Cricket was compounded last week when allegations emerged that the governor had fabricated stories of meetings with prominent political figures.

According to The Dakota Scout, which obtained a copy of the book, Noem claims that as a member of Congress, she met Kim Jong Un.

“Through my tenure on the House Armed Services Committee I had the chance to travel to many countries to meet with world leaders,” Noem wrote. “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).”

While Noem did take a trip to China with the committee in 2014, Kim did not leave North Korea until 2018, almost a decade after assuming leadership of the nation.

The governor was also accused of inventing a story in which she canceled a meeting with Emmanuel Macron over the French president’s comments on the war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza. Macron’s office denied ever extending an official invitation to Noem.

The book has already become the subject of widespread mockery. Saturday Night Live skewered Noem on “Weekend Update,” and host Dua Lipa joked in her opening monologue that even she — a radical optimist — couldn’t put a positive spin on Noem’s puppy killing.

Noem seems committed to continuing her humiliating promotional media tour for the book. On Sunday, during an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation, the governor ducked questions about how a fake meeting with Kim made it into the book.

“Well, 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,” she said. “I’m not going to talk about my specific meetings with world leaders, I’m just not going to do that. This anecdote shouldn’t have been in the book, and as soon as it was brought to my attention, I made sure that that was adjusted.”

Later in the interview, Noem was asked about a passage in the book in which she seems to suggest President Biden’s dog Commander should be shot. Noem writes that if she ever made it to the White House, her first act would be to make sure “Joe Biden’s dog was nowhere on the grounds. Commander, say hello to Cricket.” Commander was previously evicted from the White House after allegedly biting Secret Service personnel on at least 24 occasions.

“You’re saying [Commander] should be shot?” host Margaret Brennan asked incredulously about the passage.

Noem did not acknowledge the question, instead talking over Brennan and deflecting criticism as run-of-the-mill attacks from her opponents.

While the whole debacle is already embarrassing, it may be costing the MAGA governor more than just credibility in the public eye. As previously reported by Rolling Stone, Noem’s puppy-slaying ways and poor grasp of public relations may have killed her chances of becoming Donald Trump’s vice president. Trump, sources recounted, has repeatedly questioned Noem’s decision to execute the dog, including specifically, “Why would she do that?” and “What is wrong with her?”

It’s getting “kind of ridiculous” how “disgusted” the former president sounded, one source said.

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