This afternoon, President Donald Trump pardoned the national Thanksgiving turkey, partaking in an age-old White House tradition for the first time.
The turkey, named Drumstick, was chosen to receive the special presidential pardon over a second turkey, Wishbone, in a national contest that pitted turkey-against-turkey in a social media Thunderdome. Except that, instead of only one turkey emerging unscathed, both Drumstick and Wishbone have been spared certain death and will live out the rest of their avian lives at a farm in New Jersey.
Other presidents have had to wrestle with non-compliant birds (one almost flew directly at President Reagan), but today's pardoning was uneventful — at least as far as the real turkeys were concerned. The press weren't quite as well behaved.
As Trump pardoned the turkey, a member of the press corps cried out, "Are you going to pardon any people?"
Drumstick has been pardoned. "Are you going to pardon any people?" Somebody yells from the press corp pic.twitter.com/0qJJEGiYYG— Heather Timmons (@HeathaT) November 21, 2017
Trump did not respond to the question, however he did joke about trying to undo his predecessor's turkey pardons.
Trump pardons Drumstick and Wishbone, but says he was unable to overturn Obama's 2016 pardons of Tater and Tot pic.twitter.com/XTBO0e7BcC— Axios (@axios) November 21, 2017
No Al Franken jokes were made, either, despite both turkeys being from Minnesota.
Both turkeys will return to their five-star lodgings at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. before being shipped out to their new digs. Taxpayers need not worry about footing the bill, however. The National Turkey Federation — a lobby group that represents America's turkey farmers — takes care of Drumstick's and Wishbone's luxury stay.
In all, it was a happy day for both president and turkey — though some humorless, left-leaning media maves were left a little steamed.
Gotta say these traditions -- the turkey pardon, and other cutesy things presidents do -- are lost to the ether for me when Trump performs them. The legal, ethical and moral clouds over his presidency are like a film on the camera lens.— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) November 21, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!