When Donald Trump announced the demise of ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over the weekend, the president noted that the only injury to the U.S. Special Operations Forces was to a dog. “Our canine – I call it a dog, a beautiful dog, a talented dog – was injured and brought back,” Trump said.
That was not, however, the only canine reference in the Republican’s remarks.
“Last night was a great night for the United States and for the world. A brutal killer, one who has caused so much hardship and death, has violently been eliminated. He will never again harm another innocent man, woman, or child. He died like a dog.”
Trump repeated the “he died like a dog” phrase twice on Sunday morning, though I’m still not altogether sure how one dies like a dog.
The president went on to describe ISIS leaders as acting like “very frightened puppies.”
I realize that Trump’s mastery of the language is limited, but he really ought to come up with some additional points of comparison. As regular readers may recall, it was earlier this year, for example, shortly before his State of the Union address, when Trump told a group of television anchors that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) “choked like a dog” at a press conference a few days prior.
A few weeks before that, we learned of an anecdote from Cliff Sims’ book in which Trump told then-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), in reference to the closing days of the 2016 election cycle, “You were out there dying like a dog, Paul. Like a dog!”
It’s clearly one of this president’s favorite metaphors. Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, for example, was “fired like a dog.” According to Trump, so were conservative media figures Erick Erickson and Glenn Beck.
Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak was “dropped like a dog.” Steve Bannon was “dumped like a dog.” Mitt Romney “choked like a dog.” Ted Cruz “lies like a dog.” Brent Bozell allegedly went to Trump’s office “begging for money like a dog.”
“Robert Pattinson should not take back Kristen Stewart,” the future president wrote in 2012. “She cheated on him like a dog.”
Asked why he went after Arianna Huffington’s appearance, Trump wrote, just two months before launching his presidential campaign, “Because she is a dog who wrongfully comments on me.”
After Omarosa Manigault-Newman left the White House, Trump called her “a crazed, crying lowlife,” before adding, “Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”
For a guy who doesn’t want a dog, he sure does seem focused on them.