South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem indicates she hasn't been formally vetted to be Trump's running mate

Updated

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Sunday said that former President Donald Trump should pick a running mate who “will help him win,” and indicated that she has not been formally vetted for the position.

“I haven’t received any paperwork. No, I haven’t,” Noem told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” adding: “I’ve had conversations with the president, and I know that he is the only one who will be making the decisions on who will be his vice president.”

Earlier this month, Noem suggested that having a woman on the ticket might be particularly helpful to Trump, telling CNN, “All the polls tell him in these swing states that a woman on the ticket helps him win.”

But when guest moderator Peter Alexander asked Sunday whether Trump would be making a mistake by not selecting a woman for the ticket, Noem wouldn’t say so.

“He needs to pick the best person for the job,” Noem told Alexander, adding that Trump should “pick someone that will help him win.”

NBC News reported Friday that Trump’s vice presidential search has narrowed to focus on three Republican men: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. JD Vance of Ohio and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Burgum told CNN on Sunday that Trump is a strong enough candidate that he doesn't need to select a running mate who will help him garner votes.

"President Trump can win this race regardless of who is vice president. He's got the luxury of not having to pick someone," Burgum said.

Noem had been viewed as a top contender on Trump’s vice presidential shortlist but faced backlash earlier this year about an anecdote she told in a memoir about killing her family’s young dog.

Asked whether what she wrote in her book cost her a shot at being vice president, Noem declined to answer, only saying, “I would say that that was a story from 20 years ago about me protecting my children from a vicious animal.”

She added later, “The reason it’s in my book is because that book is filled with challenging times and hard decisions.”

The book also faced criticism after certain parts were disputed, including claims she met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Future editions of the book will not include the North Korea anecdote, which her spokesperson later acknowledged was erroneous.

“I’m not going to talk about that,” Noem said Sunday, adding, “I took that line out of my book, and I’m not going to talk about it.”

Noem also spoke about her views on abortion, which are at odds with Trump’s. South Dakota has one of the most restrictive bans on the procedure in the country, not allowing exceptions for rape and incest. Meanwhile, Trump has said he does support such exceptions.

The governor argued that her state’s law is not at odds with Trump’s views, which are that laws governing abortion should be made at the state level.

“I would say that it’s going to look different,” Noem said Sunday. “[Trump] said that many times over. In fact, you know, in our state specifically, the people decide.”

The governor also echoed Trump’s position on pardoning the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Every one of those cases needs to be looked at individually,” Noem said. “[Pardons] will be based on his prerogative and his decision when he looks at those cases.”

The former president has said he will absolutely consider pardoning every person convicted in connection with their actions on Jan. 6.

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