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Gov. Kristi Noem faces questions in new interview about false claim in her book that she met Kim Jong Un

Kristi Noem on criticisms over new book
Gov. Kristi Noem on criticisms of new book: "I wanted people to know the truth" 09:15

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday defended controversial passages in her forthcoming book as she faces scrutiny over a number of anecdotes, including a false claim about a meeting with Kim Jong Un, a story about killing her dog, and a phone call with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley where Noem said she felt "threatened."

In one anecdote that prompted questions, Noem claimed to have met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during her time in Congress. She told "CBS Mornings" Monday the anecdote shouldn't have been included in the book and is being adjusted, and her publisher, Center Street, confirmed Sunday that the anecdote would be removed. But Noem would not answer a question about whether the meeting with the North Korean leader actually occurred. There is no public record of her visiting North Korea or meeting with the reclusive Kim. 

"I've met with many, many world leaders. I've traveled around the world," she said on "CBS Mornings." "I should not have put that anecdote in the book."

The Republican governor said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday that she would not discuss specifics about her meetings with world leaders or trips she's taken. When pressed by moderator Margaret Brennan about whether she had been to North Korea, Noem insisted she had been to the DMZ — the demilitarized zone separating North Korea from South Korea. 

Gov. Kristi Noem on "CBS Mornings," May 6, 2024. CBS News

Noem also defended her description of the call with Haley, after which she said she felt "very much threatened." 

"Words matter," Noem said on "CBS Mornings," describing the call where she claimed Haley said she would tell her, with long pauses, if she heard bad things about her. 

Noem said it was clear from the call that Haley "was the lone wolf and that there wasn't room for another Republican woman in politics."

Noem had been considered among a list of possible running mates for former President Donald Trump in his latest White House bid. But questions have swirled about her political future in recent days, as she faces intense blowback after writing in her new book about killing her dog decades ago. 

In her book, titled "No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward," Noem writes that the 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket had shown aggressive behavior while she was training the dog for pheasant hunting. She said on Monday that the decision to kill the dog "was extremely hard for me."

"The purpose of telling the story was so that people would know I don't pass my responsibilities on to anybody else," she added.  

Noem's appearance on "CBS Mornings" came one day after she kicked off her book tour on "Face the Nation," where she was asked about a passage in her book about President Biden's dog, Commander, which had been known for biting people at the White House. In the book, Noem writes that if she got to the White House, she would say, "Commander, say hello to Cricket." 

Noem said the "president should be held accountable" for the dog, and when Brennan asked, "Are you saying he should be shot?" Noem answered again, "That's what the president should be accountable to." 

After Sunday's interview on "Face the Nation," Noem posted on social media that she had been repeatedly interrupted and accused the "fake news media" of a double standard. 

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