First things first: I want to be clear that I did not come up with the very convincing theory that Donald Trump doesn’t know what a dog is, even though he uses the word frequently. This idea has been circulating in Twitter circles for a while, and it only came to my attention last week after reading this tweet:
I thought nothing of it—just more classic Trump rhetoric—but then I saw this response:
“Yes,” I thought, “that is weird. You don't really dump a dog.” Before I long, I realized that this was not an isolated example. Dogs are all over Trump's Twitter account, to the point that there is actual literature on the subject of his dog-based rhetoric from places like The New Republic and the Times.
But was there any real scholarship on the topic? A sober-minded investigation that sought to discover the truth of whether our president is familiar with one of our most popular animals?
No, and I knew I had to fill the void. Using a trick they only teach at journalism school, I ran a Twitter advanced search for “@realDonaldTrump” and “dog.” The results are astounding. Let's take a look, and try to answer this question once and for all:
Dogs do not get fired. Early indications point to Trump having no idea what a dog is.
Dogs choke, I guess, but it's not a distinctive thing about dogs. Still leaning “no.”
Dogs are not things that are famously dropped. Three tweets in, and it's not looking good for Dangerous Dog Donald.
Again, you don't fire a dog.
Stop. Stop saying “fired like a dog.”
STOP DOING THAT. I'M ABOUT TO GO CRAZY LIKE A DOG OVER HERE! NOOOOO WHY DID I SAY THAT???
To be fair, I would kick a dog out of a debate. A dog probably doesn't belong there. This is the first sign that perhaps Trump does know what a dog is.
I would also maybe throw a dog off ABC, depending on if the show in question is pet-oriented or not. A dog might not belong. Another point for our bad president.
Donald Trump thinks that dogs are a thing you date and eventually dump. Again, this belief is not consistent with knowing what a dog is.
I have never seen a dog beg for money. Currency means nothing to them. I'm basically ready to make a decision here. Just one more supporting tweet, and I'll be satisfied…
HOLY GOD, WAIT. WAIT.
DOES DONALD TRUMP KNOW WHAT A DOG IS? HAS HE MET A DOG?
This tweet is from 2013, so maybe Shelly Kulwin is to blame for Trump's fundamental misunderstanding of what a dog is. This could be the origin story.
Okay, this might clear it up for good—he thinks David Axelrod is a dog, so maybe the idea in his head is that dogs are simply humans he doesn't like.
Honestly don't know what to make of this.
Trump definitely understands the other meaning of “dog” that you can use to publicly insult women. No mystery there.
You know what? Maybe this is a societal issue. Maybe Trump's ignorance is our fault. The phrase “work like a dog” is a common one that a lot of people use, and it's not really any better than the rest of what Trump says. Dogs don't work. Dogs are lazy. Maybe some specialized dogs work, but on average? Humans work way harder than dogs.
Is Trump's dog ignorance excusable? Is it possible that none of us know what a dog is?
WE'RE BACK TO THIS? HELP ME, GOD. HELP ME ESCAPE THIS. This tweet is even worse, because it's clear that it goes beyond a terrible simile. Maher wasn't just fired, you see—Trump thinks he was fired in a specific, worse way that you fire a dog.
This is only vaguely related, but our prez also seems to have an obsession with the idea of a “dog catcher”:
On the whole, the evidence is unclear—I honestly don’t know if Trump could identify a real-life dog if you sat one in front of him. It’s one of those mysteries destined to remain unsolved. What I do know is this: His relationship with the concept of a dog is seriously unhealthy.
Do not let Trump around your dog.