Kristi Noem won't say if story about shooting her dog cost her Donald Trump running mate spot

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said former President Donald Trump's campaign is not formally vetting her to be his vice presidential pick, but she wouldn't say whether the outcry prompted by a story about shooting her dog was to blame.

Noem in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday told guest moderator Peter Alexander that she has not received paperwork from Trump's campaign as the former president considers his options for his 2024 running mate. The Trump campaign has requested detailed information from at least four of the top contenders: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

"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," Noem said Sunday.

Noem and Trump both spoke at a Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington on Saturday. When she took the stage, some in the crowd chanted "VP."

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However, Noem received widespread criticism earlier this year when she detailed how she put an "untrainable" dog down in her 2024 book "No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward." When the story broke, Trump said Noem "had a bad week."

Noem defended her decision to include the anecdote in her book but did not answer Alexander's question about whether it affected her chances of being picked by Trump.

"I would encourage people to read the book and to really find out the truth on why that story is in there and read the other parts of the story about how we're not going back to politics the way that it used to be," Noem said. "Donald Trump changed politics because we're having much more honest and genuine conversations about the challenges people face."

Noem also did not give a direct response when Alexander asked if Trump would be making a mistake if he does not pick a woman to join him on the Republican ticket. The former president last year said he liked the "concept" of choosing a woman as his running mate.

"He needs to pick the best person for the job. He needs to pick someone that will help him win," Noem said.

Alexander also asked Noem if she is considering a presidential run of her own 2028 and she said she was "not even thinking about it right now."

Rachel Barber is a 2024 election fellow at USA TODAY, focusing on politics and education. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, as @rachelbarber_

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Noem won't say if story about shooting her dog cost her Trump VP spot