Melania Trump Wanted to Promote ‘Hero Dog’ Involved in ISIS Kingpin Raid: Book
Then-first lady Melania Trump watched the 2019 raid that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the White House Situation Room and suggested the her husband’s administration is promoting the story of the “hero dog” who participated in it, according to a new book.
Melania Trump watched the operation alongside then-President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, writes the former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller in his upcoming book, according to an excerpt obtained by the Hill.
Miller, then special assistant to the president for counterterrorism and transnational threats, said the first lady’s appearance in the Situation Room that October day was hard to miss.
“His presence was unexpected to say the least,” Miller writes. “I wondered how it would play out in the press if it was learned that the first lady had come to witness a major military operation.”
The raid on a compound in Syria ended when US special forces and a military dog named Conan cornered al-Baghdadi in the hideout and the terror mastermind ignited an explosive vest while holding two of his children.
All three were killed, along with two of al-Baghdadi’s wives.
According to Miller, Trump asked how the bodies would be handled, fearing that the Islamic State considered the women innocent victims. In response, Milley said the building would be pulverized.
The then-president also discussed how the operation to eliminate al-Baghdadi should be announced, with Melania Trump recommending that he make a public statement in the diplomatic room the following morning.
“You should be talking about the dog,” the first lady said, according to the story in “Soldier Secretary: Warnings from the Battlefield & the Pentagon about America’s Most Dangerous Enemies,” released Tuesday.
“Everyone loves dogs,” Melania added.
Trump saluted Conan the following month, welcoming the Belgian Malinois to the White House and giving the dog a special medal.
“It was a flawless attack, al-Baghdadi left, and we gave Conan a medal and a plaque. He’s a very, very special dog,” Trump said at the time.