Why Trump Needs a Dog in Florida

I was a budget examiner for the state of New York before retiring to Florida. So I take more than a passing interest in articles about the financial conditions of the Empire State. And when the piece includes Trump and Palm Beach County — the “place of domicile” which he now shares with me — I’m all ears.

Trump has “moved” to Florida

An article by Christine Stapleton in the Palm Beach Post lays out Donald Trump‘s challenges in asserting that he is no longer a resident of New York, which counts on income taxes for a sizable portion of its billion dollar budget, but of Florida, which has no personal income tax. There are a lot of New Yorkers down here. The largest out-of-state chapters of the Retired Public Employees Association of New York are in Florida. Some of us moved for the weather, or the Latin culture.

For Donald Trump, switching his allegiance from New York to Florida comes with a bruised ego. He’s under investigation by the State Attorney General Letitia James and by Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance.

I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and the state. Few have been treated worse.

Donald Trump, in a Halloween Twitter, 2019

Donald and Melania have filed a “declaration of domicile” saying that Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach club, is their home, and they change their voter registration from New York to Florida. They both voted here for the presidential election, unmasked despite Palm Beach County’s mask mandate.

New york disagrees with trump

Florida’s happy to have new residents, but New York not so happy to let residents go. The magic number is 183 — six months — the number of days after which a person is considered to be a resident of New York State. The math is not in his favor: Mar-a-Lago is only open for 190 days, closing for the summer months, meaning Trump would have to be somewhere else for five months. Most of his residences are in New York. They’re hard to miss.

Nothing warm and fuzzy at Mar-A-Lago

Then there’s the teddy bear test, which enumerates sentimental items such as family photos, wedding albums, and pets. Stapleton’s article shows the monarchic style of Mar-A-Lago. The painting of Trump in the club’s entrance is the decidedly imperial rendering of the outgoing president in tennis togs. Probably not many endearing items in this Trump property.

Trump needs a dog to win

Then, there’s pets. Trump is the first resident of the White House in 120 years to not have a dog. Obama had Bo and Sunny. Clinton had Buddy. Bush Jr. had Millie and Bush Sr., Barney. Johnson had Him and Her, not that he cuddled these beagles, but rather he lifted them by their ears. Even prickly Nixon had Checkers.

Dogs are political gold. People love dogs. Dogs humanize people. It’s science.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza The Point.

But, no. Although Trump extolled the virtues of “what they call a canine, and I call a dog” in bringing down ISIS leader Bahgdadi, he normally uses the term disparagingly, as in “Bahgdadi died like a dog.” No, an animal at his side doesn’t work for Trump.

How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn? Sounds phony to me.

Donald Trump at a rally in El Paso, February 2019.

Trump doesn’t get why people would do such a thing. Sentimentality is as unnatural to him as laughter. There are no teddy bear items in his life.

So, he’d better get ready to start his clock at zero on January 20. There’s no amount of tweeting and whining that will convince an auditor with his nose to the books. Unless, of course, he gets a dog. Good luck passing the home inspection required for adopting dogs, like Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida — the whole thing might look phony to them!

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