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South Dakota Gov. Noem erroneously describes meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in new book

WASHINGTON (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem described in a new book having met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during her time in Congress. But her office said Friday that the story of the meeting was an error as further scrutiny was put on the Republican governor’s life story.

Noem was already facing backlash for a description of how she shot a hunting dog. The book was part of an overt pitch to be chosen as a running mate for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. But her political prospects have fallen amid bipartisan disgust for how she recounted killing her 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket after it had shown aggressive behavior and killed her neighbor’s chickens.

In her soon-to-be-released book, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward,” Noem describes instances where she has stood up to international leaders — anecdotes that would have bolstered her foreign policy experience — but those were called into question. She writes about meeting Kim Jong Un while she worked in Congress, and more recently, canceling a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron

After The Dakota Scout first reported Noem’s descriptions of the meetings, her spokesman Ian Fury said in a statement, “It was brought to our attention that the upcoming book ‘No Going Back’ has two small errors. This has been communicated to the ghostwriter and editor.”

Fury said that Kim was erroneously included in a list of world leaders Noem has met with, and she also mistook the dates in which she spoke with former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley.

“The book has not been released yet, and all future editions will be corrected,” Fury added.

In the book, Noem wrote, “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 the 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 description of such a meeting was quickly met with skepticism by experts in U.S.-North Korea relations. When Noem was a member of the House Armed Services Committee from 2013 to 2015, relations between North Korea and the U.S. were tense and a congressional delegation meeting with Kim would have generated considerable awareness, said Syd Seiler, a former U.S. intelligence officer who spent decades working on the relationship with North Korea.

“Nothing like this happened,” he said, adding that he was working at the White House and State Department during that time period and had not been notified of a congressional meeting with Kim.

Noem did join an international congressional trip, known as a codel, to Japan, South Korea and China in 2014.

In the book, Noem also writes that she was “slated to meet” with Macron in November last year while she was in Paris for a conference of European conservative leaders, but later canceled when he made comments that she considered “pro-Hamas.”

However, Macron’s office told The Associated Press that no “direct invitation” had been made for Noem to meet the French president, though it did not rule out that she may have been invited to a Paris event that he was also scheduled to attend.

Fury said, “The governor was invited to sit in President Macron’s box for the Armistice Day Parade at Arc de Triomphe. Following his anti-Israel comments, she chose to cancel.”

Meanwhile, Noem is trying to fend off the bipartisan backlash for the book’s description of shooting her hunting dog, as well as a goat.

“Don’t believe the #fakenews media’s twisted spin,” she posted on X, formerly Twitter, this week. “I had a choice between the safety of my children and an animal who had a history of attacking people & killing livestock.”

Her spokesman, Fury, also cast scrutiny of the errors in Noem’s book as biased, saying, “The media will, of course, try and make these tiny issues huge but will continue to downplay Joe Biden’s repeated and false claims … “

Still, members of Congress have poked fun at Noem, with Reps. Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat from Florida, Susan Wild. a Democrat from Pennsylvania. and Nancy Mace, a Republican from South Carolina, launching a Congressional Dog Lovers Caucus this week.

Moskowitz said on X that one of the group’s rules was “you cannot kill a puppy.”

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Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed.

Stephen Groves, The Associated Press


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