As one of the most divisive figures in the history of America’s politics, the name Donald Trump has become synonymous with inflammatory rhetoric and accusations of every stripe of bigotry. Let’s take a step back from the grandiose and alienating caricature both detractors and fans alike paint him as, and have a look at something a little more human-like does he have pets?
Donald Trump does not own a pet, nor has he ever owned one. It is traditional for the president of the United States to own a dog, which will live in the White House, making Trump the only president to break that tradition.
Exhibiting care for an animal, especially one as close to us as dogs are, is a good indicator that someone has the capacity to offer compassion and responsibility to something or someone other than themselves. That’s not to say that those traits are only found in a pet owner, but in the case of Trump, perhaps owning a pet may have gone a long way to softening his otherwise abrasive public image.
A History of White House Pets
There has been a long history of presidents introducing pets to the White House, and while it has most commonly been dogs that made the Oval Office their home, there have been all sorts of animals in and around the presidential home. Amongst Donald Trump’s many firsts during his stay in the White House, being the first president in over 100 years to not own a pet can be counted among them.
Some of the pets in the White House have become almost as famous as the people who live and work there, with one good example being the Clintons’ two pets, a cat named Socks, and a dog Labrador named Buddy. Not only were they lucky enough to be on a shortlist of animals who have enjoyed the luxuries of the White House, but they also got made the subject of a book titled: “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy.”
The book “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy,” was written by Bill Clinton’s wife, First Lady, and future presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. It was essentially an archive of letters that children had written to the “First Pets”, with extra color commentary from Hillary on the nature of the relationship and rivalry between the two animals.
Straying away from the world of common domestic pets, there has even been a cow living at the White House! President Taft owned a cow, Pauline Wayne, which was free to graze on the immaculate White House lawns.
A Broken Tradition
On one hand, it wouldn’t be too difficult to justify an accusation that if Trump had adopted a pet specifically for his entrance into the White House it could have been a ploy to appear more voter-friendly. It was this very line of reasoning that he used in defense of not owning one, even claiming that he was advised to get a dog for that specific purpose, but refused on the grounds that it might appear dishonest.
The other explanation that he gave was that he simply didn’t have the time to look after a pet and that his duties as the president just keep him far too busy. That explains the reason that he never adopted a dog at the beginning of his tenure as president, although looking at his personal history it doesn’t seem like he was ever much of a pet person.
Has Trump Ever Owned Pets?
Excuses about appealing to voters and being too busy to own one aside, it doesn’t look like Trump ever really had an interest in animals outside of a few specific instances. In the book written by Trump’s ex-wife Ivana, she confirms the fact that Donald not only has no time for pets, or dogs specifically, but that he was even unhappy when she brought home a poodle.
If he was ever likely to own one in the future based on his past comments, it would probably be a German Shepherd, a dog which he has had a deep fascination with due to its drug detection capabilities. Not exactly a stellar reason to become a pet owner, but perhaps befriending an animal companion will lead to some personal growth.