Joe Biden Will Bring Presidential Pets Back to the White House
Trump was the first president not to have a White House pet in more than 100 years.
President-elect Joe Biden will restore the tradition of having a presidential pet at the White House when he and his family head to the residence in January with their two German shepherds, Champ and Major. Trump was the first president in more than 100 years not to have a pet, according to Andrew Hager, the historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum.
In 2008, the Biden family got Champ as a puppy from a breeder after Biden was elected vice president. The family decided to name the dog Champ because Biden's father had said, "Get up, champ" to Biden when he encountered challenging moments in his youth.
In 2018, the family adopted their shelter dog, Major, from the Delaware Humane Association. "We are so happy to welcome Major to the Biden family, and we are grateful to the Delaware Humane Association for their work in finding forever homes for Major and countless other animals," the Bidens said in a statement at the time. Major will be the first shelter dog to live at the White House, but not the first rescue — Lyndon B. Johnson's dog, Yuki, was rescued from a gas station in Texas.
At a 2019 rally in El Paso, Trump said that he didn't have a dog because he didn't have time, and felt it would be "phony" for him to get one for political reasons. "You do love your dogs, don't you?" Trump said. "I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don't have any time. How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?"
The tradition of having pets in the White House dates back to Thomas Jefferson, who had a mockingbird and a couple of bear cubs during his presidency. "It softens their image, it broadens their appeal," Ed Lengel, former chief historian at the White House Historical Association, told CNN in 2017. "They help create an atmosphere of the White House as a family, a lived-in place and not just a stiff museum, but a place where a family lives and plays and enjoys each other's company."