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Steve Bannon, Donald Trump Jr. criticize Kristi Noem for killing her dog

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem faced swift backlash after she revealed in a new book that she killed her 14-month-old dog Cricket. And not just from her Democratic critics.

A pair of top figures in former President Donald Trump’s orbit – Steve Bannon and Donald Trump Jr. – questioned Noem’s judgement Monday on Donald Trump Jr.’s show “Triggered.”

Bannon called Noem “a little too based,” using a slang term popular on the right to describe someone who, among other qualities, speaks and acts without fear of being politically correct, and Trump Jr. said shooting the dog “was not ideal.”

Trump Jr. brought up the vice presidential selection process at the end of his show. Noem has long been considered a potential running mate for Donald Trump. The former president’s son said he wants to speed up the time frame to select someone so the person can defend Trump in the media while he’s in court on charges stemming from hush money payments.

Bannon chimed in, saying there are plenty of good vice presidential candidates for Trump to pick from, before adding that he would like to see a female running mate.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem appears at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2024 on Feb. 23, 2024, in National Harbor, MD

“Although Kristi Noem, I think, is maybe a little too based,” Bannon added. “Shooting the puppy in the gravel.”

“That was not ideal,” Trump Jr. responded, as both men laughed. “Not ideal. I read that and I’m like: ‘who put that in the book?’ I was like ‘Your ghost writer must really not like you if they’re gonna include that one. That was rough.'”

Noem writes in her book, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward,” that she killed Cricket after a pheasant hunt, according to the Guardian, which obtained an advance copy.

Cricket disrupted the hunt by going “out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds and having the time of her life,” Noem wrote. Then, on the way home, the dog killed a local family’s chickens and tried to bite Noem when she intervened.

“I hated that dog,” Noem wrote.

She took Cricket to a gravel pit and killed the dog. That same day, Noem also killed a goat that was “nasty and mean.”

The story of Cricket’s death has drawn considerable backlash against Noem, including among conservatives and within the MAGA universe.

“Wow. No coming back from this. This is so heartless,” far-right activist Laura Loomer wrote on X.

Noem defended her actions, writing on X last week that “We love animals, but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm.”

Bannon and Trump Jr. are particularly influential in Trump’s MAGA movement. Their concerns about Noem killing Cricket could be a bad sign for her vice presidential prospects.

Trump Jr. told the New York Post he’s been pushing his dad to pick a running mate like Ohio U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy or media personality Tucker Carlson, saying he wants someone who will be a “fighter.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump Jr. criticize Kristi Noem for killing dog