After two years, one of the most persistent mysteries of Donald Trump‘s presidency is his unexplained aversion to pets. As it stands, he is one of only four U.S. presidents not to have brought some sort of furry friend to the White House: Neither James K. Polk nor Andrew Johnson had any known pets (though Johnson did reportedly feed the mice he found around his bedroom), and Martin van Buren was given two tiger cubs as a gift while in office, but was forced by Congress to donate them to a zoo.
Despite the concern many have shown toward Trump’s continued lack of pets, during a rally in El Paso, Texas, this week, the POTUS seemingly confirmed that he won’t be adopting or shopping anytime soon. According to Time, Trump was praising the abilities of drug-sniffing dogs at the U.S.’s southern border when he turned the attention to his own canine-free status. “You do love your dogs, don’t you? I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don’t have any time,” he said. “How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?” he continued, grimacing. “I don’t know…I don’t feel good. It feels a little phony, phony to me.”
Trump went on to say that, though he’s been repeatedly advised to get a pet, he doesn’t want to, claiming that the presence of a dog in his life would somehow taint his connection to his base, contradicting data showing that nearly 70 percent of American households own at least one pet. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh, you should get a dog.’ Why? ‘It’s good politically.’ I said, that’s not the relationship I have with my people,” he said.
Other reasons not mentioned during Monday’s rally include how an advisor once said Trump was “embarrassed” by Mike Pence’s “low-class” decision to move several of his many pets with him to Washington, D.C.; Ivana Trump’s revelation that her ex-husband is “not a dog fan”; and that, quite frankly, it’s difficult to imagine Trump taking care of anyone other than himself, let alone a helpless little puppy.
Especially disturbed by our nation’s current lack of a first pet is Barbra Streisand, who, during an interview with The Los Angeles Times last November, looked up from cuddling with her own (cloned) dogs to wonder, incredulously, “How does the president not have a dog?” Great question, Babs.