President Trump’s very telling dislike for dogs is infamous at this point. He’s well-known for using the phrase “like a dog” to dehumanize his enemies, most recently when he referred to slain ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as having “died like a dog.” He explained away being the first president to not have a dog by saying “I don’t have any time. How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?”
It’s not even clear he understands the role that dogs play in human families, seeing as he continuously uses the phrase “fired like a dog” or “dumped like a dog,” neither of which are things you do to dogs, who usually do not have jobs.
All this added to the drama of his surprise press conference this morning in which he honored Conan, the dog who participated in the raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s convoy. Conan chased Baghdadi into a tunnel, prompting him to detonate his suicide vest.
While Vice-President Mike Pence was clearly comfortable with the dog, petting him and scratching his head, both Trump and Melania kept their distance from Conan and didn’t touch him once.
It wouldn’t have been a Trump event without some obligatory bizarre and disturbing remarks, and the president did not disappoint.
Trump opened by darkly joking about siccing the dog on the assembled reporters, saying that “it’s trained that if you open your mouths, you will be attacked, so watch out.” He would refer to the dog as “it” the entire time.
He singled out Reuters reporter Jeff Mason with a thinly veiled threat, telling him “You’re lucky he’s not in a bad mood today, Jeff.”
Trump jokingly says the dog will attack reporters if they open their mouths. That’s not funny. Especially in times like these. He never misses a chance to intimidate using our military. Ask Iraqi’s about how dogs were used under Saddam. https://t.co/DfHfHwHmd2
— Paul Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) November 25, 2019
If you’ll recall, Jeff Mason was the reporter who publicly challenged the president on his efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden at a recent press conference with the Finnish president, certainly earning him a special place on the president’s exhaustive mental list of people who’ve slighted him.
"Reporter Jeff Mason’s questioning of President Trump draws applause from fellow journalists" https://t.co/Iz5YhM1gT6
— tRumpStinks (@breich8) November 18, 2019
He even said that he considered muzzling the dog and wanted to do so, but likely was talked out of hit by his handlers, who explained to him that the obvious social media stunt would backfire if they muzzled the dog.
Once again, Trump shows he does not understand how dogs work https://t.co/mdalRhEPEv
— Chris Sommerfeldt (@C_Sommerfeldt) November 25, 2019
Barraged with negative press over the unfolding impeachment proceedings and his most recent self-inflicted scandal — his decision to pardon war criminal Eddie Gallahager —the president clearly thought he might be able to make some friendly headlines by giving a medal to everyone’s favorite terrorist-chomping heckin good doggo.
But he couldn’t help but turn the event into another microexpression of his authoritarian impulses, and perhaps even gave us a glimpse into the violent fantasies of revenge he may be contemplating in his delusional brain.