Politics

Trump praises Conan, hero dog injured in al-Baghdadi raid, at the White House

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump celebrates the heroic pup who took part in last month's military raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
  • Trump praises Conan, a Belgian Malinois, who was injured while chasing al-Baghdadi down a dead-end tunnel in Syria.
  • The ISIS leader detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.
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Trump praises Conan, the dog injured in raid that killed al-Baghdadi

It was a dog day afternoon at the White House on Monday, when President Donald Trump celebrated the heroic pup who took part in last month's military raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Trump praised Conan, a Belgian Malinois, who was injured while chasing al-Baghdadi down a dead-end tunnel in Syria. The ISIS leader detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.

"The dog is incredible, actually incredible," said Trump, who stood beside Conan in the colonnade of the Rose Garden. "So brilliant. So smart."

"We were going to put a muzzle on the dog, and I thought that was a good idea but then it gets even more violent," Trump joked.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump present Conan, the military working dog injured in the successful operation targeting Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, before the media in the Rose Garden at the White House, Monday, Nov. 25, 2019 in Washington.
Evan Vucci | AP

The president was accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who stood petting Conan's head for much of the brief press event. Trump did not pet Conan during the presser.

Even at the apolitical event, the House impeachment inquiry which has captivated Capitol Hill for months reared its head. As the group began to walk back inside the White House, Trump was asked if he still had confidence in his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who has become a central character in the House impeachment inquiry.

"Yes I do, yes. Of course," Trump responded.

The dog, whose name and breed were originally classified, is a four-year veteran of the canine Special Operations Command program and has served 50 combat missions.

U.S. military K9 Conan, the dog that assisted Special Forces soliders in the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, poses for photographs with U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and first lady Melania Trump on the Rose Garden colonnade at the White House November 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump talked about how the dog was a hero and said he presented the animal with a medal and a plaque. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Trump said Monday that Conan would be receiving "a certificate and an award" for hisservice. The president also suggested that Conan would continue to serve in the military, describing the dog as "primetime, age-wise" for service.

After announcing that the raid on al-Baghdadi was successful, Trump shared a "declassified" photo of Conan on Twitter. The picture went viral almost instantly.

— CNBC's Amanda Macias contributed to this report.