There’s an old joke, often attributed to Harry Truman, that if politicians in Washington want a friend, they should get a dog. The point of the joke, of course, is that politics in D.C. can be cut-throat, so those looking for friends should look to canines, not people.
It’s a lesson many have taken to heart: every American president for over a century has had a dog.
Donald Trump, however, will apparently break this tradition, too. The current president told his supporters in El Paso last nigh why the White House probably won’t have a dog while Trump is in office. The Washington Post reported:
The explanation came amid an extended riff about the superior abilities of German shepherds to sniff out drugs being smuggled across the border. “You do love your dogs, don’t you?” Trump said, as the crowd whistled and cheered. “I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don’t have any time. How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?”
The supporters seated behind the riser apparently thought that he would look great with a hound or two because they stood up and clapped. But Trump wasn’t having it.
“I don’t know, I don’t feel good,” he said. “Feels a little phony to me.” A lot of people had told him to get a dog because it would look good politically, he added, but he hadn’t felt the need because “that’s not the relationship I have with my people.”
Apparently in reference to something he heard from an audience member, the president added that Barack Obama had dogs with him at the White House.
For what it’s worth, Trump has plenty of time – maybe a dog could watch television with the him – and the White House staff could probably help with some of the other routine duties.
As for what this has to do with his “relationship” with his base, I’m not altogether sure.
Regardless, I can’t help but notice just how often dogs seem to be on the president’s mind.
Last week, for example, shortly before his State of the Union address, 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 prior, 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!”
As regular readers know, it’s apparently 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.