Source: CNN

Former President Donald Trump praised South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem as a “terrific person” when asked in an interview about the backflash she received over revelations in her new book that she shot and killed her 14-month-old dog.

“She had a bad week. We all have bad weeks,” Trump told radio hosts Clay Travis and Buck Sexton in an interview that aired Tuesday.

“Couple of rough stories, there’s no question about it,” the former president said. “Until this week, she was doing incredibly well. And she got hit hard and sometimes you do books and you have some guy writing a book and you maybe don’t read it as carefully, you know. You have ghost writers do it, they help you, and they, in this case, didn’t help too much.”

Noem became the subject of intense criticism for disclosing in her new book, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward” that she shot and killed her dog, Cricket, because the puppy was “untrainable,” “dangerous” and “less than worthless … as a hunting dog.”

Noem also said in the book that President Joe Biden’s dog Commander should suffer a similar fate to Cricket. Commander, Biden’s German shepherd, has bitten Secret Service personnel in 24 separate incidents at the White House and other locations, according to CNN’s reporting from February. The dog was removed from the White House in October.

Controversy over the book also extended to other disclosures. For example, Noem falsely claimed that she once met North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The book’s publisher announced earlier this month that the relevant passage would be removed in reprints.

CNN previously reported that Noem had already fallen off Trump’s vice presidential candidate shortlist long before the latest controversy began. Still, Noem is slated to attend a Tuesday fundraiser for Trump in Manhattan, which will include others said to be under running mate consideration. Trump’s praise also comes amid escalating tensions between Noem and tribal leaders in South Dakota over her previous remarks about Native American communities.

After Trump’s interview aired, Biden campaign spokesperson James Singer said in a statement, “At the Biden campaign, we are proudly anti-puppy-killing and don’t think those who murder puppies are ‘terrific.’”

This story and headline have been updated.

CNN’s Kit Maher and Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.

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