WASHINGTON– President Donald Trump, joined by first lady Melanie Trump and son Barron, continued the annual White House tradition of pardoning two Thanksgiving turkeys, Drumstick and Wishbone, on Tuesday before heading to his Mar-a-Lago resort for the holiday.
“We’ve hosted dozens of incredible world leaders, members of Congress, and, along the way, a few very strange birds,” Trump said during the Rose Garden ceremony. “But we have yet to receive any visitors quite like our magnificent guest of honor today, Drumstick.”
Both of the turkeys were swiftly pardoned before being sent to live at Gobbler’s Nest, a safe haven on the campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, which is also home to last year’s turkeys pardoned by President Barack Obama, Tater and Tot.
“As many of you know, I have been very active in overturning a number of executive actions by my predecessor,” Trump said. “However, I have been informed by the White House Counsel’s Office that Tater and Tot’s pardons cannot under any circumstances be revoked. So, we’re not going to revoke them.”
This is not the president’s first pardon since assuming the Oval Office. Earlier this year, Trump pardoned Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted for criminal contempt following his strict border protection policies. At the ceremony Tuesday afternoon, the president ignored a couple shouts from the crowd asking if he would pardon any people.
Trump daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband, presidential adviser Jared Kushner, also attended the ceremony.
“This Thursday, as we give thanks for our cherished loved ones, let us also renew our bonds of trust, loyalty and affection between our fellow citizens as members of a proud national family of Americans,” the president said.
The National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation is now in its 70th year, although the tradition of pardoning the turkeys was started with President George H.W. Bush in 1989.