Kristi Noem's Book Stirs Up a New Brouhaha

Governor claims she met Kim Jong Un; 'There's no way,' says an expert
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2024 7:23 AM CDT
Experts: Noem Is Lying About Meeting Kim Jong Un
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem attends an event Jan. 10, 2024, at the state Capitol in Pierre, SD.   (AP Photo/Jack Dura, File)

No one is doubting South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's account of killing her young dog and other animals, but people aren't so quick to buy other claims in her upcoming memoir. According to the Dakota Scout, Noem writes in No Going Back about meeting Kim Jong Un while serving on the House Armed Services Committee from 2013 to 2015 and about canceling a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron after he "made what I considered a very pro-Hamas and anti-Israel comment to the press." Macron's office said he never had a meeting scheduled with Noem. Meanwhile, a dozen Capitol Hill staffers said they'd never heard of Noem meeting Kim. "It's bullshit," said one who worked on the committee at the time in question.

Experts agree the claim is, basically, impossible. President Obama didn't even meet Kim. "And I have never heard of Kim Jong Un meeting congressmen or congresswomen," North Korea expert and Virginia Commonwealth University professor Benjamin Young tells the Scout. "There's no way." Fellow expert George Lopez of the University of Notre Dame says Kim didn't leave North Korea from 2011 to 2018, meaning Noem would've had to visit that country. But the Scout could find no congressional record of such a trip. Noem mentions the supposed meeting while remarking that "I had the chance to travel to many countries to meet with world leaders." Of Kim, she writes, "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)."

Of Macron, she writes she was "slated to meet" him while in Paris for a political conference but "decided to cancel." The president's office said Noem never received a "direct invitation," though it's possible she and Macron were scheduled to attend the same event. In response to questions, Noem's office said she doesn't discuss her meetings with foreign leaders, though the book clearly disputes that. The Scout was later told the publisher would be "addressing conflated world leaders' names in the book." Read the full report here. (More Kristi Noem stories.)

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