Presidential pups have always had their own appeal. But on Monday, at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, President Donald Trump made it clear that he's no dog person, explaining to his crowd of supporters that keeping a pet dog, like other presidents before him did, would feel "phony" to him.
The president offered his opinion on the matter as he admired the drug-sniffing ability of German Shepherds working for the Secret Service. "I wouldn't mind having one, honestly, but I don't have any time," he said on Monday.
"How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?" Trump asked the crowd at his campaign rally, who burst into cheers. "I don't know," he said. "I don't feel good. Feels a little phony — phony to me."
Trump added that "a lot of people" advised him to get a dog because it would be "good politically." But he claimed that he responded, "look, that's not the relationship I have with my people."
While the president doesn't seem to have a lot of love for pups, he has also used the word "dog" as an insult for people he's feuding with. Trump has referred to former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman, actress Kristen Stewart, and Sen. Mitt Romney as a "dog" at one point or another.
If Trump chose to get a dog, he would be joining the likes of former Presidents Barack Obama, who had two Portuguese water dogs named Bo and Sunny; Bill Clinton, who had a dark brown Labrador Retriever named Buddy; and Ronald Reagan, who had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Rex.
While that's not likely to happen given Trump's feelings about having a dog, not everyone in the administration seems averse to man's best friend. Vice President Mike Pence has an Australian shepherd named Harley and a bunny called Marlon Bundo, who has his own Instagram account.
With all that said, Trump isn't alone in not having a pet dog. Former president William McKinley, who served from 1897 to 1901, was one of the presidents not to have a pup, although he kept a parrot and rooster.
In fact, Trump's lack of interest in dogs spans decades. In 2017, Trump's first wife, Ivana Trump, detailed about her former husband's dislike for dogs when they were together. In her memoir Raising Trump, Ivana wrote, "Donald was not a dog fan. When I told him I was bringing Chappy [her poodle] with me to New York, he said, 'No.'"
Ivana went on to write that she still brought Chappy to the Big Apple where the dog and Trump's relationship remained on the rocks. The poodle apparently didn't like Trump and would bark at him, according to Ivana.
Some scholars who have written about presidents and their dogs have suggested that Trump ought to keep one. The author of First Dogs, Brooke Janis, told The Chicago Tribune, "[Trump] is a president who needs a friend. Having a dog offers unconditional love, and that is something that this president desires so deeply and can't seem to find."
But the likelihood of Trump ever taking Janis' advice seems pretty slim at this point.