The president had dogs on the brain at a rally on Monday in El Paso, Texas, when he joked that he wasn't sure he was comfortable with the optics of owning a pet

By Adam Carlson Lindsay Kimble
February 14, 2019 09:35 AM
President Donald Trump (left) with daughter-in-law Lara Trump (far right) at a campaign rally in October 2016
David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/TNS/Getty

While the Trumps might not be getting a dog anytime soon in the White House — the first family in years not to have a furry friend — it’s not for lack of lobbying in their ranks, according to an ABC News report this week.

Lara Trump, the wife of President’s Donald Trump‘s son Eric Trump, has “in recent weeks … pitched the president on adopting a dog while at the White House,” the network reports, citing a source.

(An administration spokesman did not respond to PEOPLE’s questions on the matter; a Trump family spokeswoman also did not immediately respond to an email on Thursday.)

As ABC News notes, it’s possible the president had dogs on the brain at a rally on Monday in El Paso, Texas, when he joked that he wasn’t sure he was comfortable with the optics of owning a pet. As with other of the president’s riffs during his speeches, it seems he expanded on the tangent in response to the crowd.

“How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?” he said after noting, “I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don’t have any time.”

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“I don’t feel good. Feels a little phony to me,” the president continued at his rally. “Lot of people say, ‘Oh you should get a dog.’ Why? ‘It’s good politically.’ I said, ‘Look, that’s not the relationship I have with my people.’ “

When someone in the crowd then brought up Obama, Trump laughed at the apparent mockery of his predecessor for having a pet.

“Yeah, Obama had a dog, you’re right,” he said.

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In a December 2017 article in The Atlantic about Vice President Mike Pence, an advisor claimed that the president thinks pets are “low class.”

Further, the advisor contended that Trump was “embarrassed” that the Pence family brought their pets with them to Washington, D.C.

And in Trump’s first wife Ivana Trump’s memoir, Raising Trump, she wrote, “Donald was not a dog fan,” according to CNN.

“When I told him I was bringing Chappy with me to New York, he said, ‘No,’ ” Ivana reportedly wrote. “‘It’s me and Chappy or no one!’ I insisted, and that was that.”

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Lara most recently made headlines as one of several Trump officials or surrogates whose comments drew fire during the government shutdown for seeming insensitive.

In a late-January TV interview, she told unpaid workers, “It’s not fair to you and we all get that, but this is so much bigger than any one person.”

“It is a little bit of pain, but it’s going to be for the future of our country,” she said.

In a later statement, Lara echoed her father-in-law in dismissing criticism of her comments as distorted “fake news” headlines.

“They’re completely misrepresenting my words and my support for furloughed workers. My heart goes out to all of the federal workers affected by the shutdown,” she wrote on Twitter, adding, “We’re fighting every day to end this impasse!”