He can't get a break: The POTUS is attacked for welcoming the hero dog Conan to the White House

CNN political analyst Joan Walsh had a lot of company when she crudely attacked President Trump in a series of tweets after he, Melania Trump, and Vice President Pence welcomed the heroic military dog Conan to the White House on Monday.  Conan, apparently a male Belgian Malinois after previously being identified as a female, is the dog that played a critical role in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a successful raid by American special operations forces on the terrorist leader's compound in Syria last month.

Conan and friends meet the press, the White House Rose Garden, Nov. 25, 2019.

White House photos.

After welcoming the hero dog and some human members of the Special Ops team to the Oval Office for a private meeting and presenting Conan with an award, the president, the FLOTUS, V.P. Pence, and Conan and his handler stepped outside to the Rose Garden to introduce Conan to waiting reporters.  According to the White House transcript of the president's comments, he began by stating, "Good morning.  So this is Conan — right now, probably the world's most famous dog."  A six-minute video of the casual, light-hearted event tweeted by a Washington Post reporter, however, quickly gave rise to a trending social media thread generating scores if not hundreds of comments, tweets, and retweets — the majority of them disrespectful if not totally uncalled for and depraved.

Among those who tweeted criticisms was Joan Walsh, who has over 344,000 followers on the social media platform.  In addition to her role as a CNN commentator, she is the national affairs correspondent for the far-left socialist magazine The Nation and the author of What's the Matter with White People?  On Twitter Monday morning, Walsh got a lot of mileage out of criticizing President and Mrs. Trump for — among other things — not petting Conan during the photo op.  Later in the day, after her comments became fodder for hundreds of pro and con retweets, Walsh issued the following tweet:

Joan Walsh


I am being slammed for my Conan tweets by MAGA and I do want to apologize: Conan is actually a female dog, God bless her. So I'm especially shocked Trump didn't...well, you know.

12:20 PM · Nov 25, 2019

The Washington Examiner headlined a story about Walsh's tweet "CNN's Joan Walsh implies she's 'shocked' Trump didn't sexually assault hero dog Conan."  Also fair game for social media critics were the fashion statement made by Melania Trump's colorful coat; the president's jokes; and, as noted, the first couple's reluctance to pet or interact with Conan.  Vice President Pence, meanwhile, standing a step behind and to the right of the president, came across to many observers as a dog-lover, as he appeared to welcome the opportunity to pet and scratch Conan's head during much of the encounter.

In reviewing Walsh's tweets, I am reminded of CNN's firing of its conservative commentator Jeffrey Lord in August 2017 for a politically incorrect comment that he made during an exchange of tweets with a far-left critic-provocateur.

President Trump, Vice President Pence, Conan, Conan's handler, and Mrs. Trump meet the press in the White House Rose Garden, Nov. 25, 2019.

As the four people and Conan were walking back to the Oval Office, the real news arising from the event was made when the president responded, "Yes, I do.  Yes. Of course." to a shouted question asking him if he still had confidence in his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Richard Nixon at a formal White House press conference 12 days after the Watergate break-in, June 29, 1972.
Photo © by Peter Barry Chowka.

Many commentators compare what we're experiencing now — the vile hatred of President Trump and everything related to him as we move toward his probable impeachment trial in the Senate — to the days of President Nixon and Watergate.  In the 1970s, while getting my start in journalism, I attended and reported on some of the Watergate hearings, as well as three formal presidential press conferences in the Nixon White House.  At the time, I was a college student studying English in Washington, D.C.

We are in a totally different world now.  To be sure, many students on campuses back then were vehemently anti-Nixon, but it was nothing close to the degree of anti-Trump radicalism in academia now.  Much of the rhetoric aimed at Nixon, especially during radical student anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, was crude and obscene.  But this sentiment was not generally reflected in the mainstream, including the MSM, as it is now.  Today, we have moved into uncharted territory, or terra incognita, as evidenced by the hyper-polarized reaction to something as innocuous as a hero dog visiting the White House to celebrate a noteworthy American military success.

In another news event at the White House on Monday related to animals and the president, certain acts of animal cruelty officially became federal felony crimes as President Trump signed the bipartisan Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act passed overwhelmingly by the Congress earlier this fall. As he signed the bill in an Oval Office ceremony Monday afternoon, the president commented:

Our nation's animals have played a vital role in the development, settlements, security and happiness of our country. So true, we had a great dog named Conan here just a little while ago so it's very fitting that [the bill signing] was on the same day. . . Conan was something and created quite a stir.

President Trump added:

We have the responsibility to honor the dignity of God's creation. With today's Act we take the critical step of being more responsible and humane stewards of our planet.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications.  Peter's website is http://peter.media.  His new YouTube channel is here. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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