What the President Doesn’t Get About Dogs
Among the revelations that have rained down in the wake of Michael Wolff’s White House tell-all “Fire and Fury” ― the claims and counterclaims, the excerpts and the tweets, the book’s vicious portrayal of a clueless, childlike president whose courtiers are forced to produce daily episodes of Short Attention Span Theater ― surely the saddest is this: The president of the United States, leader of the free world and famously one of the few pet-less commanders in chief, does not understand how dogs work.
迈克尔・沃尔夫(Michael Wolff)的白宫大揭秘《炮火与怒火》(Fire and Fury)通过各种说法和反驳、摘录与推文，将总统恶狠狠地描绘成一个无能而又孩子气的人，侍臣们每天都得上演不少戏码，吸引他过于短暂的注意力。该书出版后，人们得以看清大量事实――当然，最可悲的一件事莫过于，美国总统、自由世界的领导人、也是著名的极少数没有宠物的最高指挥官之一，根本不了解狗是怎么回事。
This became clear during a particularly frothy late-night tweet storm, in which President Trump, in a pretzel-twist of rage over the perfidy of Mr. Wolff and the president’s former adviser and campaign strategist Steve Bannon, wrote: “Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad!”
There is a lot going on in this tweet. But it was one pungent phrase ― “dumped like a dog” ― that stuck in Dog World’s craw like a sideways Snausage. “What does being ‘dumped like a dog’ entail, precisely? Asking for a concerned friend (or friends, actually),” tweeted the Newsweek senior political writer Celeste Katz, posting her query above a shot of her dachshunds. The popular account @weratedogs summed it up by asking, simply: “do you … do you know what a dog is?”
This is not the first time Mr. Trump has employed canine similes to describe an especially odious opponent, an enemy who has been not just vanquished but humiliated to the point that his very humanity is in doubt.
In 2016, Eric Levitz of New York magazine compiled some of Mr. Trump’s “like a dog” tweets to give a snapshot of how our leader sees man’s best friend:
《纽约》(New York)杂志的埃里克・勒维茨(Eric Levitz)在2016年汇编了一些特朗普关于“狗一样”的推文，以便让人们看一看，我们的领导者如何看待人类最好的朋友：
Erick Erickson, who once disinvited Mr. Trump from a Red State forum, got “fired like a dog.”
Glenn Beck got fired “like a dog.”
Bill Maher got “fired from ABC ― in fact, fired like a dog!”
The president has used “dog” to describe the looks of a woman he does not like (Arianna Huffington is a “dog who wrongfully comments on me.”). An unfaithful woman cheats on her man “like a dog” (Kristen Stewart). A man who loses an election “choked like a dog” (Mitt Romney). Dogs are failures, dogs are unattractive, dogs are unworthy of faith.
总统用“狗”来形容他不喜欢的女人的长相（阿里安娜・赫芬顿[Arianna Huffington]是一条“不公正地评论我的狗”）。一个不忠诚的女人“狗一样”背叛了她的男友（克里斯汀・斯图尔特[Kristen Stewart]）。一个在选举中落败的人“狗一样被呛住了”（米特・罗姆尼[Mitt Romney]）。狗是失败者，狗不惹人喜爱，狗不值得信任。
Which, as anyone who has spent five minutes in a dog’s company could tell you, is pretty much the opposite of how dogs are.
I’ve been lucky enough to have lived a dog-filled life. I grew up with a sweet if dimwitted bulldog named Mort, who had to be reminded at least twice a week how to get onto the couch. Mort would get winded on any walk that took him beyond the driveway and would, in the summertime, collapse, belly down, in the first puddle he could find, short legs splayed, a look on his wrinkled, Churchillian face saying, “Please, no more.”
When I was 23, my roommate and I saw an ad in the classified section of the newspaper where we worked: “one dog, small, spotted, free to good home.” We were charmed by his bouncy mien, his speckled coat and his needlelike teeth. We named him Wendell. When my roommate moved on, this 11-pound rat terrier became my guy, and I became, slowly but surely, his responsible adult.
Jobs changed, boyfriends came, boyfriends went. I moved from rural Pennsylvania to Lexington, Ky., then on to Philadelphia. Wendell was my constant. He was stylish: Every morning, when I got dressed for work, Wendell would lie on my bed, paws crossed, scrutinizing my stirrup pants and shoulder pads with a chilly disdain. He was loving: When I came home from work, he would act like I’d returned from a war, scampering in circles and leaping with joy as if to declare YOU’RE BACK! YOU’RE BACK! YOU’REBACKYOU’REBACKYOU’REBACK! He believed in me: Every night, when I’d work on my first novel, he would fall asleep at my feet, his somnolence suggesting that he was in this for the long haul and I should be, too.
I sold my book. Wendell feigned nonchalance, but I have to believe that he enjoyed the upgrade from generic to name-brand kibble. I got engaged. Wendell would start the day by chasing my fiancé down the hallway, back fur bristling, posture declaiming “and don’t come back.” By the end of his life Wendell had a cardiologist and was on a variety of medications, the pills carefully crushed and tucked into bits of paté. He needed a boost to get onto the bed. Still, every night, he would sleep on my pillow, furled like a halo above my head.
When Wendell died, it felt like the world had been knocked off its orbit. When it was, finally, time to get another dog, my daughters were adamant, rejecting puggles and poodles and bat-eared French bulldogs, insisting that we get another dog “just like Wendell.” In 2011, Ratterrierrescue.com brought us Moochie, who had been dumped, pregnant, at a kill shelter, where she’d languished as her pups went off to “forever homes.” Moochie spends most of her life within five feet of my person, heralding my movements by preceding me down the hall or up the stairs, curled up in a padded wicker basket while I work, or on my husband’s legs while he reads, a black-and-white spotted package of pure love.
Our president doesn’t understand any of that. He mocked Vice President Mike Pence for allowing his family to bring their cats, snake and rabbit to Washington, deriding them as “low-class” and “yokels.” Meanwhile, his adult sons are big-game hunters, whose relationship to higher mammals seems to be informed by questions like “Am I allowed to kill it?” and “Can I cut off its tail before I pose for the picture?”
It takes a lot to elicit sympathy for a man whose life goals seem to be deepening America’s divisions, lining his pockets and starting a third world war on Twitter, not necessarily in that order. But it’s hard not to be a little sad for anyone who won’t ever know the singular pleasure of a dog’s companionship.
Mr. Trump may never know the steadying warmth of a dog by his side while he rage-watches cable TV. He won’t know the way a dog’s paw-pads smell like corn chips, or the pleasure at the sight of her paddling her feet, giving little yips and snarls as she chases squirrels in her dreams.
He might be the president, with Air Force One and a model wife and, if you believe him, a desk equipped with a nuclear button that is bigger than anyone else’s button. But if you’ve got a dog, you are rich in a way that Mr. Trump will never be.
For the price of a few face licks and leg humps, you’ve got the undying love and unwavering loyalty of a true companion.
And in an endlessly feuding, turmoil-ridden White House of warring factions, shifting alliances and endless leaks, all the president has is Stephen Miller.