When I covered the White House for The Washington Times during the George W. Bush administration, I used to play a game with then-Press Secretary Dana Perino, now a Fox News host.
The game was simple: One of us would send the other an email that said, “Can you imagine if W. had ___.” You could fill in the blank with anything that the Democrats were currently getting away with in the milquetoast U.S. media.
The game, of course, can still be played today, just with different players. Take former President Donald Trump. He said in March 2020 that masks weren’t needed to combat COVID-19. That’s exactly what the nation’s top immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci was saying at the time.
“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is,” the doctor said on CBS News.
But the media have long forgotten Fauci’s words and repeatedly said that Trump urged no mask — long after he had called for masks.
Our old game came to mind after reports emerged Monday that President Biden’s two German shepherd dogs had been sent back home to Wilmington, Delaware, after a “biting incident.”
The U.S. media went crazy when Biden won the presidency, writing breathless stories about dogs returning to the White House after four years of a dogless Trump administration.
One news outlet went so far as to call on a pet psychic to channel the soon-to-be First Dogs. “Joe Biden’s Dogs Have Told This Pet Psychic a Lot About Their Beloved Master, and His Future,” The Daily Beast reported.
The subhead of the piece said: “Pet psychic Beth Lee-Crowther says Joe Biden’s dogs, Major and Champ, told her they are excited to live in the White House. They also say their master will be ‘a great president.’”
All the reports included the fact that one of Biden’s dogs — Major — was making history as the first rescue dog in the Executive Mansion.
But seven weeks into his term, the dogs have been sent back to Mr. Biden’s home after Major reportedly bit a member of White House security. “The 3-year-old pooch has also reportedly been barking and lunging at staff and security,” The New York Post wrote.
Biden and his wife Jill adopted Major in November 2018 from an animal shelter, but he apparently isn’t well-trained. And his fellow canine, 13-year-old Champ, was also banished from the White House, the reports said.
Shortly after Biden won the White House, even the Associated Press wrote a fluff piece headlined, “It’s Major: Pets poised for a return to the White House.”
“In a few weeks, Major, fellow German shepherd Champ and the TBD feline are expected to make the move to the White House. Presidential pets provide their owners with a source of comfort, entertainment, occasional drama and generally good PR,” wrote the AP.
Now just imagine if Trump owned two German shepherds and one had snapped at a White House staffer or member of security. The headlines would have been rabid.
Trump would’ve been maligned as a terrible pet owner, with news outlets calling in “experts” to say he had no business owning pets in the first place.
But you won’t hear any of that with Biden as president. And you won’t hear a word about the risks involved when getting a dog from a rescue shelter (it’s clearly the best way to get an animal, but there are always risks).
TMZ ran some cover Tuesday, citing the Delaware Humane Association as saying, “Champ and Major’s recent behavior could stem from a change in environment, which can be unsettling for dogs.”
“This is particularly challenging in a home like the White House, with dozens of staff and new people in the environment and around the dogs every day.” The association said “this does not mean that Major — or any shelter dog for that matter — is an aggressive dog.”
The first lady has already made excuses for the dogs.
“They have to take the elevator, they’re not used to that, and they have to go out on the South Lawn with lots of people watching them. So that’s what I’ve been obsessed with, getting everybody settled and calm,” she said last month on “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”
By the end of Tuesday, a White House official told NBC News, “With the First Lady traveling for three days, Champ and Major went to Delaware to stay with family friends.”
So just like that, the dogs are really fine, they haven’t been banished and there’s no problem at all.
Don’t look to the MSM to ask any questions about the evolving tale. They’ll be too busy smooching the president’s backside to notice.
*Joseph Curl covered the White House for a dozen years and ran the Drudge Report for four years. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter at @JosephCurl. A version of this article ran previously in The Washington Times.