Trump’s Strange Canine Insults

Why invoke man’s best friend to insult someone?

Conan, canine hero of the al-Baghdadi raid. (US military photo)

Donald Trump is hypocritical about dogs.

This week, he praised a U.S. special forces German Shepherd for its work in the raid that killed Isis leader Bakr Abu al-Baghdadi. The dog, named Conan, was wounded in the raid, but is recovering. Trump announced that Conan will soon visit the White House.

Later in the week, when Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke withdrew from the 2020 race, Trump characterized him as quitting “like a dog.”

Most people don’t have mixed emotions about dogs. You either like them or you don’t. You’re either a dog person or you’re not. But even if you’re not a dog person, you usually don’t malign them by comparing them to people you don’t like.

And most people I know wouldn’t turn around and insult other people by viciously calling them dogs. Dog people love their dogs, and they wouldn’t conjure a metaphor which uses a dog to belittle a person.

Most of the dogs I’ve known have been so friendly, so loyal and trusting, that being compared to them is actually a compliment.

Trump’s use of the canine metaphor

Trump’s awkward use of the canine metaphor to describe people he does not like is another of his weird language traits. He thinks it makes him sound tough, but it really sounds like he’s stolen dialogue from a 1930s gangster movie.

Instead, it sounds like he lacks the imagination to use something other than a tired, worn-out metaphor. Or the discretion to say nothing at all and simply report facts.

Here’s what Trump said about al-Baghdadi’s death:

Last night was a great night for the United States and for the world. A brutal killer, one who has caused so much hardship and death, has violently been eliminated. He will never again harm another innocent man, woman, or child. He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place.

He died like a dog. I don’t know about dog culture elsewhere, but in the U.S. we go nuts for our dogs. They have special chairs. And couches. And blankets. They get special breakfasts with shredded cheese. (And yes, I’m talking about our Basset Hound, Toby.)

Most people, not just dog people, don’t like the image of dying dogs. We cringe when we see one dead beside the road. We will go to any lengths to keep from hurting one. We will rescue them when they are in trouble. We will take them to doctor as we would any other member of the family. And we will cry and grieve when one dies, and usually bury him with a small funeral service in the backyard.

Here, at least, to die like a dog is to die with honor and to be lovingly missed.

Now, here is Trump’s comment on Beto O’Rourke.

When Beto quit like … he quit like a dog. I said, ‘See people think this is easy, this isn’t easy’.

He quit like a dog. Is that even an insult?

When a dog quits something, it’s usually finished doing whatever it was doing. It doesn’t think much about. It quits. It has either accomplished what it wanted, or the task at hand ceased to offer the expected result — such as when it quits begging because it’s decided you’re not going to give it the corner of your Pop Tart.

Beto saw that he wasn’t going to get the desired result out of running for president. So he withdrew. And he withdrew with a lot of grace right here on Medium, I might add.

A dog would think you were dumb for keeping at something that wasn’t working.

Enough said. Beto is not worried about Trump saying he “quit like a dog.” Really, it doesn’t make any sense.

Other times Trump has called someone a dog.

Trump has called people dogs many other times, as this link to The Cut points out.

Trump called Omarosa Manigault Newman, Apprentice alum, “a dog” after she got fired from her White House job. He predicted MSNBC’s Chuck Todd was going to get “fired like a dog” from his job anchoring Meet the Press. And, when referring Mitt Romney’s attempt to unseat President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, Trump said he “choked like a dog.”

When someone crosses Trump, he calls them a dog. Clearly he has never known the friendship of a good dog.

And he doesn’t want to, either.

Trump doesn’t own a dog, making him one of the few presidents to not have a White House pet.

At an El Paso rally earlier this year he explained why.

I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don’t have any time, I don’t have any … How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn? Would that … right ? Sort of … not … I don’t know, it doesn’t … It feels a little phony, phony to me. 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.

How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?

Well, you might look human. And that would certainly be an improvement.

We’ve got to do better than this, folks.

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