Mitt Romney insists there’s a big difference between his own dog scandal and Kristi Noem’s

Mitt Romney insists there’s a big difference between his own dog scandal and Kristi Noem’s

Utah senator Mitt Romney rejected any comparisons between his 2012 dog scandal and the unravelling one involving South Dakota governor Kristi Noem, who wrote about killing her puppy in her new book, No Going Back.

“I didn’t eat my dog. I didn’t shoot my dog. I loved my dog, and my dog loved me,” Mr Romney said, as a 17-year-old story seems to have come back to haunt him.

When the Utah Republican was running for president in 2007, the now-epic tale emerged of Mr Romney tying his Irish setter Seamus to the top of his station wagon – with a shield in front of the dog to protect him from highway gusts – during a family road trip.

Now, Mr Romney is firmly distancing himself from the South Dakota Republican, who wrote in her forthcoming memoir that she shot her 14-month-old wirehaired pointer, calling the pooch “untrainable” and “less than worthless… as a hunting dog”.

Mitt Romney arrives at the Capitol in Washington (AP)
Mitt Romney arrives at the Capitol in Washington (AP)

“At that moment,” Ms Noem wrote. “I realised I had to put her down.”

She conceded that while “it was not a pleasant job... it had to be done”.

The South Dakota governor is considered to be on Mr Trump’s vice-president shortlist – but this story could hinder her chances, Mr Romney argued.

He told the HuffPost: “I guess it kind of makes it a little difficult for President Trump to find someone to be his [vice-president].”

He added, “He has to look for someone smarter than him, [a] better speaker than him and, like him, does not get burdened with principles.”

Five years after Romney’s dog story was unveiled, TheWashington Postwrote about how the tale still plagued him as he ran for president again.

Seemingly in a misguided attempt to defend herself, Ms Noem took to X to point out “tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm” before mentioning that “we just had to put down 3 horses a few weeks ago that had been in our family for 25 years”.

She continued to double down on her decision on Sunday. “I can understand why some people are upset about a 20-year-old story of Cricket, one of the working dogs at our ranch, in my upcoming book.

“The fact is, South Dakota law states that dogs who attack and kill livestock can be put down. Given that Cricket had shown some aggressive behaviour toward people by biting them, I decided what I did.”