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'Like a dog': Trump's favorite comparison clearly needs work

When Trump said Republican poll watchers "treated like dogs," he was relying on a comparison he loves, but has never understood.
Image: Rowdy, left, and her friends, Gummy Bear and Goldie, at a dog park.
Rowdy, left, and her friends, Gummy Bear and Goldie, at a dog park.Courtesy of Evan Siegfried

One of the oddities of Donald Trump's post-election antics came last week, when Rudy Giuliani delivered a ridiculous presentation to Pennsylvania Republicans in a hotel ballroom, joined by the president, who rambled for a while via a speakerphone.

As the Washington Post noted yesterday, Trump's pitch included a familiar phrase.\

"If you were a Republican poll watcher, you were treated like a dog," Trump complained, using one of his favorite put-downs, even though many people treat dogs well, like members of their own families.

Right off the bat, the idea that Republican poll watchers have been systemically mistreated is difficult to take seriously.

But putting that aside, why in the world does the outgoing president keep referring to dogs like this?

In June, Trump was interviewed by Sean Spicer, his former White House press secretary, and argued that the impeachment charges against him were "thrown out like dogs." A year earlier, the president boasted to the world that ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "died like a dog" -- a phrase Trump liked so much, he used it twice.

The phrasing seemed familiar for good reason. As regular readers may recall, shortly before his State of the Union address in 2019, 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. Now all he needs is for someone to explain to him that a lot of people actually like dogs.