ted nugent and kristi noem
Musician Ted Nugent and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem appearing at an NRA event in The Mount Rushmore State on June 7, 2024. Credit: Noem/Twitter

Twitter Frenzy Follows Kristi Noem's Appearance with Ted Nugent

The overwhelming majority of the comments mention something about Kristi Noem killing her dog and/or one of Nugent’s many transgressions.

A few weeks ago, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem released a memoir in which she admitted to killing her dog because it was bad at hunting and she "hated" it. She said she shared the story to demonstrate her ability to make tough choices, but many speculated she was trying to boost her profile with former President Trump, who supposedly hates dogs.

In the days that followed, the backlash was swift. Noem went into a sort of damage-control mode. At first, she blamed "fake news" for the outrage, but it turns out, her critics came from all over the political world. Most people couldn't jibe with her logic behind choosing to kill an 18-month-old dog instead of training. Based on her descriptions, most thought what it did sounded like normal behavior.

Then, instead of apologizing or trying to explain the issue further, Noem doubled down. She reiterated her tough choices explanation and even went so far as to say she'd kill President Biden's dog because it bit a bunch of people.

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After that, the issue died down a bit as the news cycle changed. It was also pretty clear that she was comfortable with what she did even if a lot of people weren't. But recently, she posted something to X that seemed to almost invite attack. It was a picture of her making an appearance at a National Rifle Association event with Ted Nugent.

Kristi Noem's Twitter post

In the caption, Noem explained that she and the aging rocker were "defending the 2nd Amendment" at the Friends of the NRA Lewis & Clark Chapter. "Together, we will continue to make South Dakota the MOST 2nd Amendment-friendly state in America, and we'll share that example with the nation," she wrote.

While it's not uncommon for either of the conservative provocateurs to appear at an NRA event, it does make it easy for critics. The overwhelming majority of the 1,200 comments mentioned something about Noem killing her dog and/or one of Nugent's many transgressions.

Since posting about the event, Noem has talked about several issues, ranging from state politics to bashing Biden about national issues to stumping for Trump. In each post, though, she's confronted by critics. While most of the discourse on X is basically name-calling, the negative opinions seem to reflect the public's view.

Polls taken since Noem released her memoir show that the governor's approval rating dropped. Nearly 48% of South Dakota voters say they have an unfavorable opinion of her personally and 46% disapprove of her performance as governor. Plus, almost all of the interviews she does not, the question "why did you kill your dog?" seems to pop up. It seems like few can relate to her story.

Under state law, Noem cannot run for governor again, so what exactly she does afterward is anyone's guess. Some continue to speculate that she's still being considered for the role of Republican vice presidential candidate, but who knows for sure.