By Kathryn Watson
Washington […] — Conan, the “ultimate dog” that helped the U.S. military bring down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria last month.
Mr. Trump introduced Conan to the White House press corps in the Rose Garden on Monday, alongside Vice President Mike Pence and first lady Melania Trump.
“Conan did a fantastic job. And we’re very honored to have Conan here, we’ve given Conan a certificate and an award that we’ll put up in the White House,” the president told reporters.
There were conflicting accounts regarding Conan’s sex on Monday. Mr. Trump referred to Conan using male pronouns, but a White House official later said Conan is female. But several hours after that, another official contradicted that assertion, saying Conan is in fact male.
Conan was injured in the raid that ended in the death of the ISIS leader, but he’s back on the job, as Mr. Trump confirmed Monday. When a reporter asked the first lady if she wants to keep the dog for Barron, their teenage son, the first lady responded, “no,” with a smile.
Conan’s identity was declassified after the raid, given the high level of public interest, but the dog’s normal handler did not appear in the White House for security purposes. Conan, a Belgian Malinois, was sent into a tunnel to subdue al-Baghdadi during the raid on a compound in Syria. The ISIS leader detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.
Mr. Trump did not pet Conan, although the vice president did. The Trumps’ decision not to have a dog at the White House is a rare one for U.S. presidents.