President Trump on Wednesday shared an altered of himself putting a medal across the neck of the canine injured within the raid final weekend that led to the demise of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s chief.
The picture, which bears a watermark for a social media account for the conservative information web site The Daily Wire, seemed to be an altered model of a 2017 Associated Press . In the unique, Mr. Trump is seen awarding a Medal of Honor to James C. McCloughan, a retired Army medic who’s credited with saving the lives of 10 males throughout the struggle in Vietnam.
“Our ‘K-9,’ as they call it, I call it a dog,” Mr. Trump said on Sunday. “A beautiful dog — a talented dog — was injured and brought back.”
Mr. McCloughan was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor in combat, in July 2017. He is credited with saving the lives of company members during a battle on Nui Yon Hill in 1969 near the city of Tam Kỳ, Vietnam. He was struck by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire, but repeatedly ran onto the battlefield to rescue his comrades.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Mr. McCloughan, 73, who had not seen the image before a reporter sent it to him, said that he interpreted it as Mr. Trump recognizing the dog’s heroism. He certainly was not offended and laughed when he compared the two images.
After all, he said, Medal of Honor recipients accept on behalf of their entire teams, especially those that did not return from battle. And canines have long been part of war efforts.
“This recognizes the dog is part of that team of brave people,” he said.
Mr. McCloughan, who taught high school and coached youth sports after his military service, added that he had worked with a dog in Vietnam who helped detect enemy activity during missions.
“They are very courageous,” he said of military canines.
He was also concerned about the condition of the dog, after the president tweeted that the dog was injured when the terror leader detonated a suicide vest.
“Once a medic, always a medic,” Mr. McCloughan said.
Mr. Trump on Wednesday also awarded the Medal of Honor to Matthew O. Williams, an Army master sergeant, who is credited with helping to save the lives of four critically wounded soldiers in 2008 in Afghanistan.
The image Mr. Trump shared on Wednesday was one of several altered photographs featuring the dog and posted in recent days on social media by The Daily Wire.
Mr. Trump took note of the Daily Wire photo mashup in a tweet he posted early Thursday, calling it “very cute” and suggesting that Conan was White House-bound next week.
The Trump White House is fluent in and speaks often in the language of internet memes.
In April, Mr. Trump shared a spoof video of a video by Joseph R. Biden, Jr. As Mr. Biden sits cross-legged on a sofa and speaks, what looks like a cardboard cutout of Mr. Biden pops up behind him, seeming to mock his remarks.