'I Didn't Shoot My Dog': Mitt Romney Resents Being Compared To Kristi Noem

"I loved my dog and my dog loved me," the Utah senator said when asked about comparisons between him and South Dakota's GOP governor.

WASHINGTON ― Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) slammed South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) for shooting her dog and rejected comparisons to his own canine controversy during the 2012 presidential campaign.

“I guess it kind of makes it a little difficult for President Trump to find someone to be his [vice president]. He has to look for someone smarter than him, [a] better speaker than him and, like him, does not get burdened with principles,” Romney told HuffPost on Tuesday.

The Utah senator also pushed back on the notion that Noem’s “tale of slaughter” in her upcoming political memoir is anything like him being criticized for tying his dog Seamus to the roof of the family car during a cross-country trip, an account that polarized a lot of voters during the campaign.

“I didn’t eat my dog. I didn’t shoot my dog. I loved my dog, and my dog loved me,” Romney said.

In her new book, Noem shares an anecdote from 20 years ago in which she shot a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket, according to an advance copy obtained by The Guardian. The governor, who has been mentioned as a possible Trump running mate, recalled that she “hated” Cricket, describing the dog as “untrainable,” “dangerous” and “less than worthless ... as a hunting dog.”

“It was not a pleasant job,” she wrote of her decision to shoot the dog at a gravel pit on her ranch. “But it had to be done.”

Despite facing days of withering criticism over the story, including her quixotic decision to share it in a memoir, Noem defended her actions in a post on X (formerly Twitter), writing that she followed the law and that she was “being a responsible parent, dog owner, and neighbor.”

But lawmakers on Capitol Hill didn’t see it that way.

“She’s obviously not an experienced dog trainer because I’ve seen ill-behaved dogs are usually a reflection of their owner,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) told HuffPost.

Tillis, a dog lover who hosts a “bipawtisan” dog parade for Halloween every year in Washington, said most dog owners faced with a tough decision would “go find someone that would actually take the dog and train it, rehabilitate it.”

“It was weird,” he added of Noem’s decision to include the story in her book. “I don’t see it as a net win for anybody but the dog killers caucus.”

Other Republicans were similarly befuddled by the story.

“My advice is: Don’t write books,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) quipped.

Meanwhile, South Dakota’s delegation in Congress defended Noem and other ranchers who are forced to make such decisions about their animals.

“If a family decides that they have to put their pet down, their dog down, then I think most of us feel that it’s a very private and personal matter,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said.

Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) added: “Most people would go to the vet, but I would tell you that Kristi Noem was not the first or the thousandth farmer or rancher that’s put down an animal themselves. That’s not unusual in rural America.”

Arthur Delaney contributed reporting.


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