President Trump held an impromptu press conference in the Rose Garden where he introduced the world to the military canine who helped bring down the leader of the Islamic State.
After weeks of Trump teasing a White House appearance, Conan, the dog who was injured during the raid that ended in ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s death, was honored in the Rose Garden on Monday.
“The dog is incredible,” Trump said while standing alongside Conan, Vice President Mike Pence, and first lady Melania Trump. He also called Conan “the ultimate fighter.”
The president awarded the dog a reward and a certificate for his service during the raid.
Conan, a Belgian Malinois, is reportedly a veteran of more than 50 missions. Trump had been considering giving him an Purple Heart, an honor bestowed to troops who have been wounded or killed in combat.
Defense Department regulations stipulate that military working dogs are not allowed to receive the Purple Heart, which is awarded to troops who have been killed or wounded while serving the country. The prohibition was implemented after a dog named Chips was honored with one in 1943 for his service during World War II.
Baghdadi was killed during a top-secret operation in northwest Syria, Trump announced at the White House on Oct. 27. He said that Conan has been on other “important” raids since the successful operation.