US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assails China almost every day, but he says his dog is not part of his campaign.
Pompeo raised eyebrows among students of the social media tea leaves when he posted a photograph of his dog looking ready to tear into a Winnie the Pooh toy.
“Mercer and all of her favorite toys!” dog-loving Pompeo wrote on his personal Twitter account.
Photo: screen grab from Twitter
Chinese social media users have frequently used the bear as a meme for Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), although Beijing’s thorough censors have little sense of humor about it.
Asked in a radio interview on Wednesday whether this was “Winnie the Pooh-gate,” Pompeo appeared oblivious.
“No, I imagine there were a series of stuffed animals and they were equally distributed for Mercer’s benefit,” Pompeo told radio host Simon Conway in Iowa.
When told that the BBC had run a story musing about a deeper meaning, Pompeo laughed and said: “I hadn’t seen that.”
A.A. Milne’s loveable, but slow-witted bear with a weakness for honey was picked up as a meme after pictures were published of Xi alongside more slender former US president Barack Obama, who drew comparisons to Pooh’s friend Tigger.
China has since sought to scrub the meme from Internet accessible inside the nation.
Beijing in 2018 rejected the release of the Disney film Christopher Robin, which stars the bear.
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