politics

Trump Reportedly Asked Reince Priebus How Badgers ‘Work’ and If They’re ‘Mean to People’

Photo: Michael Connor/EyeEm/Getty Images

Queens natives usually don’t have the opportunity to learn about the animal world from their immediate surroundings, a privilege enjoyed by many suburban and rural Americans. Perhaps this early lack of exposure is why President Trump appears to have such a weak understanding of how animals “work.”

Judging from his insults comparing people to dogs, for example, it appears Trump believes dogs often lose their jobs: Trump opponents “fired like a dog” include Omarosa Manigault Newman, Glenn Beck, Bill Maher, and General Stanley McChrystal. (Trump is, in a sense, correct that dogs have a high employment rate: In addition to the working group, made up of dozens of large canines bred for specific tasks, dogs do have actual jobs, like police officer, firefighter, and soldier.)

According to a forthcoming bookSinking in the Swamp: How Trump’s Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington — Trump is also badger-curious, and used to pelt former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus about the official animal of his home state of Wisconsin:

Business Insider obtained a copy of Sinking in the Swamp and broke out a few more details: Trump would repeatedly “waste Priebus’s time” in meetings by asking about how badgers “work” and if they are “mean to people.” The president also asked his chief of staff if he had any pictures of badgers he could show him, apparently unaware of the properties of his cellphone beyond his favorite app.

“Trump also wanted to know if the badger had a ‘personality’ or if it was boring,” according to the authors. “An obviously enthralled president would stare at Priebus as the aide struggled for sufficiently placating answers, all the while trying to gently veer the conversation back to whether we were going to do a troop surge in Afghanistan or strip millions of Americans of health-care coverage.”

To be distracted from an important meeting with thoughts of a charismatic animal is perhaps the most relatable President Trump has ever been. And, to clarify, badgers do have strong personalities; they’re notoriously tidy, are occasionally friends with coyotes, like to go out at night, and are known to get a little twisted: In 2015, a female badger in Poland drank seven beers stolen from beachgoers and was passed out for two days straight. The American badger is not considered endangered or threatened — which is good news for the carnivorous mammal, considering the Trump administration’s 2019 gutting of the Endangered Species Act.

This post has been updated to include that badgers are friends with coyotes sometimes.