Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said there’s no comparison between South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem killing her “less than worthless” puppy and the controversy over the Romney family dog being carried in a kennel strapped atop a car on a road trip.

“I didn’t eat my dog. I didn’t shoot my dog. I loved my dog, and my dog loved me,” Romney told HuffPost.

The Republican senator also said that Noem’s admission that she shot the dog after it ruined a hunt and killed a neighbor’s chickens “kind of makes it a little difficult for President Trump to find someone to be his (vice-president).” Romney added that Trump “has to look for someone smarter than him, (a) better speaker than him and, like him, does not get burdened with principles.”

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Romney, who is not seeking reelection this year, dealt with his own canine controversy during his first run for president when a 2007 profile on his candidacy described how, years earlier, he’d exhibited “emotion-free crisis management” by hosing down the car mid-trip after the family’s Irish setter Seamus soiled his rooftop kennel.

By the time Romney was set to become the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, the incident had “come to characterize the candidate,” The Washington Post reported, citing examples of how it was being used against him by everyone from animal rights activists to his political opponents, both Republican and Democratic.

President Barack Obama, who went on to win a second term in the 2012 election, even tapped into what some called Romney’s “Seamus-gate problem,” when his campaign strategist, David Axelrod, tweeted a photo of Obama holding his dog, Bo, in the presidential limousine with the caption, “How loving owners transport their dogs.”

According to The Guardian, Romney’s comment that he “didn’t eat my dog” was aimed at Obama, who had written in his memoirs about being “introduced to dog meat (tough)” as a young boy in Indonesia.

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Noem’s upcoming memoir includes the anecdote of her shooting a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket, as well as a family goat 20 years ago, according to an advance copy obtained by The Guardian. The British newspaper said Noem wrote she “hated” the dog, calling it “untrainable,” “dangerous” and “less than worthless ... as a hunting dog.”

“It was not a pleasant job,” The Guardian said she wrote of her decision to shoot the dog at a gravel pit on her ranch. “But it had to be done.”

Since the story surfaced, Noem defended her actions on X, formerly known as Twitter. Saying she “can understand why some people are upset,” Noem posted that she has “never passed on my responsibilities to anyone else to handle. Even if it’s hard and painful. I followed the law and was being a responsible parent, dog owner, and neighbor.”