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“Tell them about the dog”: but what was Melania Trump doing in the war room during the 2019 raid on Daech?

What other foreign military operations might the former first lady of the United States have been involved in?

Throughout her time as First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump gave the impression that she wanted to be somewhere else. Anywhere but elsewhere. At least, that's the conclusion many of us drew from the following few episodes: 1) the time she wore the infamous "I Really Don't Care" jacket, 2) the time she was recorded saying in the middle of the White House, "Fuck Christmas decorations," and 3) her refusal to try to stop the assault on the Capitol on that eerily memorable January 6, on the grounds that she was busy taking pictures of carpets (one might also add her apparent contempt for her husband, her tears at his victory announcement, which were not tears of joy, and her postponement of her move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for almost five months, which seem to point in the same direction). A new case, however, suggests that the former first lady may have been more intimately involved in government affairs than one might have thought.

In a book due out this week in the United States, former acting Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration, Christopher Miller, reveals that Melania was inexplicably present in the crisis cell, the so-called Situation Room, during the 2019 U.S.-led raid against Daech in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the terrorist organization's leader at the time, died. According to Miller, Melania was alongside her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, among others. He writes, "Her presence was unexpected, to say the least. I wondered how the press would react if it became known that the first lady had come to witness a major military operation," as stated in a copy of the autobiography obtained by The Hill news site. 

"You should tell them about the dog. Everybody loves dogs."

As has been known for several years now, al-Baghdadi blew himself up after a military dog named Conan led U.S. troops to the Daech leader's base, who then surrounded it (the explosion also killed two of al-Baghdadi's children, as well as two of his wives). But if Christopher Miller is to be believed, it was Melania who came up with the idea of how to present the mission to the American people. She reportedly told the president, "You should tell them about the dog. Everybody loves dogs."

Everyone, of course, except Donald Trump, who is notoriously unappreciative of animals in general, and dogs in particular. He is the only president in more than a century to have lived in the White House without a dog by his side, and his ex-wife Ivana wrote in 2017 in her autobiography, "Donald was not a fan of dogs," claiming that his poodle, Chappy, "barked at him" whenever he got too close to his mistress' closet. Trump also has a history of disparaging his ex-employees and enemies, real or imagined, by comparing them to dogs. For example, he has tweeted that so-and-so "choked like a dog," so-and-so was "thrown out like a dog," so-and-so was "fired like a dog," or, our favorite, was "kicked off the ABC News debate like a dog."

Conan, an "AMERICAN HERO" according to Trump

Trump, however, chose to listen to his third wife, which apparently led him to excitedly tweet that Conan was a "wonderful dog" who had done a "GREAT JOB" on behalf of the United States, before sharing a photoshopped image of him presenting Conan with a Medal of Honor, this "AMERICAN HERO." He then invited the canine to an official White House tour, during which he told reporters in attendance, "The dog is amazing. Really amazing. We had a great time together. He's remarkable, very smart." Later, he added, "Conan was badly injured as you know, and we thought he might not make it. But he recovered very quickly and has since performed other very important operations." Fittingly, the former president couldn't help but "joke" about how he wouldn't hesitate to unleash Conan on a member of the press known for his no-holds-barred questions, "He's trained for it, if you bring it up too much, you're going to get attacked. You're going to have to be very, very careful."


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