Out of all the positions, Trump is still filling in his cabinet, there is one he does not intend on finding a suitable candidate for: first pet. According to Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, “The first family is still getting settled, so there are no plans at this time.”
“In the modern-day presidency, almost all of them have had a pet,” said Jennifer Pickens, a White House social expert who wrote “Pets at the White House.” However, not all presidents “necessarily have them at the beginning of the administration.”
Aside from being a germaphobe, Trump might not like pets because they won’t bend to his every will. “For some reason people in power, they end up suffocating different opinions and dominating their staff, but they in some ways long for someone who will speak up to them, and a pet will,” said political writer Doug Wead, a former George H.W. Bush administration staffer.
It was George H.W. Bush’s dog Millie who started the trend of the notable pet. When she had puppies, events were “carefully choreographed so guests could see all these little puppies, Wead said. “It was calculated like a state dinner.” Barbara Bush even wrote “Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barabara Bush,” which hit #1 on the New York Times nonfiction best seller list in 1990.
Hillary Clinton followed suit in 1998 with “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kid’s Letters to the First Pets.” George W. and Laura Bush stepped up their game even more with Barney Cam,”—a series of short videos with the Bushes’ Scottish Terrier. And when Obama won the 2008 election, he told his daughters that “You have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” That puppy, Bo, would enjoy a career by Obama’s side in interviews.
While Trump doesn’t have a pet, Mike Pence has many. Two cats, Hazel and Pickles, a beehive, and a bunny named Marlon Bundo—when Pence inevitably becomes President after Trump’s impeachment or resignation, we might get a “first bunny” and “first bee.”
Pets can humanize a powerful figure—especially if that pet is a bunny called Marlon Bundo. It would actually benefit Trump’s image to have a furry creature scampering around the oval office—but he doesn’t want to look human. He wants to look “powerful.”
Then again, there are already plenty of lapdogs in the White House.