Will Trump pick a pup?

Cecil Whig - - & - Ann McFeat­ters

— With about as much stew­ing as he gave choos­ing a sec­re­tary of state, Don­ald Trump is con­sid­er­ing ac­cept­ing a ca­nine pet in or­der to avoid be­ing the first pres­i­dent in a cen­tury and a half to not have a dog in the White House.

Dogs, it should be noted, have en­joyed a glo­ri­ous his­tory in our na­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive man­sion. Cats, a lit­tle less so — al­though Abra­ham Lin­coln once in­sisted his cat Dixie was “smarter than my whole Cabi­net.”

A few pres­i­dents had en­tire menageries, col­lec­tions that in­cluded an al­li­ga­tor, an ele­phant, bear cubs, tiger cubs, rac­coons, squir­rels, horses, silk­worms, guinea pigs and par­rots. Even goats have wound up on the White House lawn as a means of sav­ing on mow­ing costs and show­ing the pub­lic the pres­i­dent was sac­ri­fic­ing to sup­port troops over­seas.

Calvin Coolidge had 26 named pets, in­clud­ing two lion cubs and a pygmy hip­popota­mus. War­ren Ga­maliel Hard­ing’s dog Lad­die Boy was way more pop­u­lar in the news­pa­pers than the pres­i­dent. Franklin Roo­sevelt’s dog Fala pos­si­bly won him re-elec­tion to his fourth term. Lyn­don John­son, how­ever, lost stature with Amer­i­cans when he was pho­tographed pick­ing up his two of his bea­gles, Him and Her, by their ears.

One thing that could make a dif­fer­ence to Trump is that you can make a lot of money with a celebrity dog, al­though most mod­ern pres­i­dents have given such in­come to char­ity. There are all those cof­fee table books, for ex­am­ple, about chil­dren’s letters to Bar­ney, Bo, Mil­lie, Sunny and Miss Bea­z­ley. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s dogs are so pop­u­lar the first lady has to keep a di­ary for them to sched­ule their ap­point­ments. They do, how­ever, spend many hours out­side with staff.

Thus, Trump could claim get­ting a dog cre­ated jobs since he, a pho­bic about germs, is un­likely to walk a dog. How­ever, Trump will have a lot of free time since he skips all those bor­ing in­tel­li­gence brief­ings he says he is too smart to need. (In­ci­den­tally, they are called pres­i­den­tial daily brief­ings for a rea­son; they’re only for the pres­i­dent and they need to be done daily even though Trump thinks about once a week is fine.)

That does bring up a trou­bling thought. What if the gold­en­doo­dle a wealthy friend from Palm Beach, Fla., says she is giv­ing Trump has an ac­ci­dent or slob­bers over the pres­i­dent’s shoes? Would the dog be pub­licly fired, break­ing the hearts of chil­dren from coast to coast, not to men­tion Trump’s son Bar­ron?

Choos­ing a name for the White House dog is daunt­ing. Some pres­i­dents have been lack­ing in this area. For ex­am­ple, Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton had Sweet­lips, Drunk­ard and Tipsy, among oth­ers.

The dog un­der Trump’s con­sid­er­a­tion is named Pat­ton, af­ter the fa­mous gen­eral who did cause pres­i­den­tial angst and was fired as mil­i­tary gov­er­nor of Bavaria. Pat­ton, how­ever, did not cre­ate as much trou­ble for pres­i­dents as Trump’s other fa­vorite gen­eral, Dou­glas MacArthur.

Isn’t it in­ter­est­ing that Trump, who once de­clared he would fire all the gen­er­als, is fill­ing his Cabi­net with them? But I di­gress.

Since Trump in­sists on re­main­ing an ex­ec­u­tive producer of “The Celebrity Ap­pren­tice,” he will be able to pub­li­cize a White House dog even more than his pre­de­ces­sors have. Not just cof­fee table books but re­al­ity TV shows, end­less tchotchkes and, for $150,000, cloned Pat­tons! Trade­marked Trump Tower re­treats for pets from coast to coast! Pat­ton doggy beds and blan­kets and bones.

His­tor­i­cally, many pets have been given to pres­i­dents by for­eign lead­ers, in­clud­ing Pushinka, a puppy of the Soviet space dog Strelka, given to John F. Kennedy by Nikita Khrushchev.

But, some­how, given the cur­rent cli­mate of too much schmooz­ing between Rus­sia and Trump and the pres­i­dent-elect’s re­fusal to be­lieve the CIA that Rus­sia in­ter­fered in the U.S. elec­tion, a bad sce­nario would be Trump choos­ing a Rus­sian wolfhound, also known as a Bor­zoi.

Even worse? Trump ac­cept­ing an off­spring of Konni, Vladimir Putin’s Labrador. And nam­ing it Hil­lary.

Ann McFeat­ters is a colum­nist for Tri­bune News Ser­vice. Readers may send her email at am­cfeat­ters@na­tion­al­press.com.


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