Kristi Noem’s chances of being chosen as Trump’s VP decrease, sources say

South Dakota’s governor, Kristi Noem, a two-term Republican, has garnered significant attention as a potential running mate for former President Donald Trump in the 2024 election. In fact, Trump himself confirmed that she was being considered for the position as of February.

Last year, he expressed his admiration for Kristi, saying, “I have a strong liking for her. I believe she is exceptional and has done an outstanding job.”

According to sources familiar with both Noem and Trump’s thought process, it seems that Noem’s standing with the former president is becoming less secure. This shift can be attributed, at least in part, to a series of peculiar controversies and decisions that Noem has been involved in.

In March, the negative headlines started with the release of a video by Noem herself, promoting an out-of-state dentist. The video led to a lawsuit alleging deceptive advertising. The scrutiny further intensified when details from Noem’s upcoming memoir emerged, revealing that she made the decision to shoot one of her young dogs due to its alleged “untrainability” and aggression.

Noem’s office has not provided any comment to ABC News regarding the legal complaint linked to the promotional video. As of now, she has not filed a response in court, according to records.

According to a source familiar with the running mate talks, Noem’s chances of joining Trump’s ticket seem to have been seriously weakened. This is due to a combination of her controversial episodes and concerns about her judgment. The source also mentions that Noem has been “over-auditioning,” which has further contributed to the decline in her chances.

Sean Spicer, President Trump’s initial White House press secretary who maintains contact with the former president’s team, stated that everyone unanimously agrees that she ruined her chances, pun intended.

Sean Spicer, the former White House Press Secretary, expressed his concern about the decision to include the anecdote about Noem’s dog in a book. He questioned the judgement of the editors, agent, and others involved in the publishing process. Spicer compared the situation to a job applicant admitting to stealing office furniture during an interview, highlighting the questionable nature of voluntarily sharing such information.

Noem’s office chose not to provide a comment for this story.

In September, she expressed her eagerness to join Trump as his running mate, stating that she would do so without hesitation.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, she boldly endorsed Donald Trump and embraced his unapologetic and combative approach. She made it clear that she would stand by him, even if he were to face legal charges in New York related to hush money payments made to allegedly conceal an affair from voters. It is important to note that Trump has maintained his innocence in this matter.

According to sources, Noem’s style and presentation have been instrumental in keeping her name in the conversation as a potential running mate. Despite some concerns surrounding a past controversy involving her daughter’s real estate license, Noem maintains that she did nothing wrong, and her daughter has defended her “good name”. Additionally, there has been scrutiny of aspects of her personal life and whether her policy portfolio is too hard-line to appeal to a broader audience beyond the GOP base. However, these factors have not deterred her from being considered for the role.

However, the conversation surrounding Noem took a different direction in March when she released a rather unconventional video endorsing the dental work she had received from a dentist in Texas.

The consumer advocacy group Travelers United filed a lawsuit against Noem, accusing her of engaging in “misleading” and “deceptive” advertising. The lawsuit claimed that Noem had a “financial relationship” with the dental practice but failed to disclose this agreement.

In her upcoming memoir, which will be released next week, Noem sparked even more controversy when she revealed the heartbreaking decision she had to make regarding her 14-month-old dog, Cricket. According to Noem, Cricket exhibited an “aggressive personality,” which included attacking a family’s group of chickens and being “out of her mind with excitement.” As a result, Noem made the difficult choice to euthanize Cricket.

Noem expressed her strong dislike for the dog, Cricket, stating that she found the animal to be untrainable.

Noem faced criticism from animal advocates for personally shooting the dog, with many deeming it excessive and inhumane. However, she stood by her decision and addressed the backlash by presenting herself as a politically incorrect politician unafraid to be upfront and make difficult decisions.

According to her, Cricket was shot twenty years ago.

In a statement on X, she explained that according to South Dakota law, dogs that attack and kill livestock can be euthanized. She acknowledged that Cricket had displayed aggressive behavior by biting people and took responsibility for her decision. Regardless of her roles in running the ranch and politics, she emphasized that she has never delegated her responsibilities to others and understands that difficult choices sometimes need to be made.

Keeping a dog that “chases, worries, injures, or kills any poultry or domestic animal” is deemed a misdemeanor under state law.

However, Noem’s explanation did little to alleviate the growing concerns about her among people in Trump’s circle.

According to one source familiar with the situation, there is a sentiment that the actions being taken by this individual are detrimental to her chances in the race. It is believed that she lacks an understanding of President Trump and the media. Whether the attention she is receiving is positive or negative, it is seen as a disqualification.

The source, like others, preferred not to be quoted by name in order to provide more candid insights or because they lacked authorization to speak on the record about this matter.

According to one individual, multiple individuals within the Trump campaign have expressed the opinion that Noem has swiftly eliminated herself from consideration.

Multiple individuals who spoke with ABC News have drawn comparisons between Noem and Sarah Palin. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, was once a prominent figure in the Republican Party. However, she was often criticized for her perceived lack of preparedness for the national stage when she was chosen as the vice presidential nominee alongside John McCain in 2008.

One former staffer of Noem pointed out that the ongoing comparison between her and Sarah Palin has been somewhat unnoticed. However, recent events have the potential to make this comparison more prominent. The concern arises from the question of whether Noem can maintain credibility on a national level when incidents like these serve as distractions.

It has been suggested by other sources that Noem was never seriously considered as Trump’s vice president. They claim that the media attention surrounding her prospects was driven by her own allies. However, it seems that her apparent enthusiasm for the position didn’t sit well with Trump.

According to a second source who has spoken with Trump about his VP pick, they mentioned that she is auditioning excessively.

According to an anonymous source, Trump is not a fan of obsequiousness or ubiquitousness. The source further explains that if someone is overly auditioning for the role of Vice President, regardless of their identity, it would not be beneficial for Trump and his current priorities.

Trump is notorious for constantly changing his circle of allies and his opinions about them. He often alternates between shunning top advisers and bringing them back into his inner circle.

Defenders also highlighted, as Noem did, that her dog Cricket served as a working animal, rather than a typical pet.

According to sources interviewed by ABC News, concerns expressed by advisers may hold little weight compared to President Trump’s own reluctance to permanently remove individuals from his inner circle.

According to a source familiar with the “veepstakes,” anyone who claims to know the next vice president of the United States, aside from Donald John Trump, is speaking without any real knowledge. Donald Trump himself has emphasized that there is no perfect candidate, and his main criteria is that the chosen person is ready to take on the role from day one and, most importantly, assist him in winning the election.

According to spokesperson Brian Hughes, the Trump campaign issued a statement addressing the speculation surrounding President Trump’s choice for Vice President. Hughes emphasized that any claims about the selection process are false, unless they come directly from President Trump himself.

Beyond Noem, there is a longer list of contenders for the position. These contenders are believed to include Senators Katie Britt from Alabama, Marco Rubio from Florida, Tim Scott from South Carolina, and JD Vance from Ohio. Additionally, there are Representatives Byron Donalds from Florida and Elise Stefanik from New York, as well as Governors Doug Burgum from North Dakota and Sarah Sanders from Arkansas.

Noem’s apparent decline in contention is unlikely to dampen the competition to be selected as Trump’s running mate in November, especially as the national party convention approaches this summer. Sources indicate that Trump is deliberately encouraging this jockeying for position.

According to a source who has discussed the matter with Donald Trump, the former president is being cautious in his selection of a vice president, as he does not want to explicitly declare someone as the successor of the Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement. Instead, Trump would rather have potential candidates compete and prove themselves worthy of carrying on the legacy he has established.

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