Trump names horse gifted by Mongolian president: 'Victory'

The president told reporters that the horse, which was given to his 13-year-old son, Barron, was "very beautiful."
Image: President Donald Trump Welcomes Mongolian President Battulga Khaltmaa To The White House
President Donald Trump welcomed Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga to the White House on Wednesday.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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By Lauren Egan

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the horse gifted to the president's 13-year-old son, Barron, by Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga would be named “Victory.”

“Thank you very much for the horse,” Trump said to Battulga, as the two leaders walked from the White House residence to the Oval Office for a meeting on Wednesday.

Trump said he had seen a picture of the animal, calling it "beautiful."

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted a picture of the horse shortly after the meeting, confirming that Victory would remain in Mongolia.

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Landlocked between China and Russia, Mongolia is known for its breed of small but tough war horses that were historically ridden by fighters such as Genghis Khan.

Horses are incredibly significant in Mongolian culture and it has become traditional to offer them as gifts to U.S. dignitaries.

During a trip to Mongolia in 2011, Vice President Joe Biden was given a horse, which he named “Celtic.” And in a trips made by defense secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Chuck Hagel, they named their gift horses “Montana” and “Shamrock,” respectively.

Although Barron Trump is the most recent American to receive a Mongolian horse, he is not the first to have to leave his gift on the other side of the world: Biden, Rumsfeld and Hagel all left theirs in Mongolia.

Caroline Kennedy rides her pony, Macaroni, on the south grounds of the White House on March 20, 1962.AP file

When President George Bush visited in 2005 shortly after Rumsfeld, his administration worked to make sure that the Mongolians would not offer the president a horse, hoping to avoid the awkward optics of leaving the animal behind.

"I'm here on an important international mission," Bush said during his speech in Mongolia. “Secretary Rumsfeld asked me to check on his horse."

Transporting a horse all the way from Mongolia to the U.S. presents obvious logistical challenges. There is also concern over maintenance of the horse, which could fall on the shoulders of taxpayers.

Victory isn't the first pony presented to a presidential child.

Macaroni, a gift from Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson to 5-year-old Caroline Kennedy, would frequently visit the White House grounds during her father's presidency, but was boarded at the Kennedys' nearby estate in Virginia.