The Trump family is one of the rare presidential families to not have a dog at the White House, but they were seen honoring one at their residence on Monday. Conan, the dog that helped the US military nab the ISIS leader and terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria as of October 2019.
The president introduced Conan to the press corps sitting at the White House in the Rose Garden while flanked by his wife, Melania, and Vice President Mike Pence. He said in honor of the dog, “Conan did a fantastic job. And we’re very honored to have Conan here, we’ve given Conan a certificate and an award that we’ll put up in the White House.”
The gender of the dog was ambiguous when Trump used male pronouns for it, whereas the White House official staff later clarified that it was indeed a female. Several hours later, it was confirmed once again that Conan was a male.
Conan suffered injuries in the raid which ended with the death of the ISIS leader but is back on his feet and on the job. When reporters asked if the first lady would like to keep the dog for her son Barron, she responded “No”, coldly, before smiling eerily.
Conan’s identity was declassified only after the raid, given the interest of the public. However, his handler did not appear in the White House at all to protect his safety. Conan is a Belgian Malinois and was sent into a tunnel to subdue al-Baghdadi during the raid in the Syrian compound. Baghdadi, instead of being arrested, detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and three of his young children in the bargain. This also injured Conan.
While President Trump refrained from petting Conan, the vice president did not refrain from it.