President Trump pardons turkey in annual White House tradition

President Trump pardons turkey in annual White House tradition

Members of the public and media gathered in the Rose Garden for the tradition to see which lucky bird or birds would catch a break this year. "In December 1948, Truman accepted two turkeys and remarked that they would come in handy for Christmas dinner", said historian Betty C Monkman.

Two turkeys from South Dakota get comfortable in their room at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, after their arrival Sunday, in Washington, D.C. "I've never seen such a lovely turkey", Trump said, as Peas was honored with the title of the "National Thanksgiving Turkey".

Although both Peas and Carrots have been spared from Thanksgiving dinner tables and were granted peace and rest, the president warned that "it won't be entirely a rest".

The turkey pardoning ceremony was not just for fun, however, as President Trump also took a moment to honor the men and women of the United States Armed Services.

President Abraham Lincoln is credited as being the first to free a turkey after it was sent to the White House in late 1863.

While Carrots did not attend the event, the president shared that he would also be pardoned along with Peas.

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"While 1947 was the beginning of the official turkey presentation from the poultry industry, the turkey pardon remained a sporadic tradition". The Kentucky turkey emerged victorious, per the White House Historical Association.

One of the two turkeys will be selected via an online White House poll to become this year's National Thanksgiving Turkey.

The presidential flock included 50 turkeys.

Pardoning the turkeys didn't catch on right away.

The whimsical tradition dates back 71 years, even though it wasn't actually formalized until George H.W. Bush made it so in 1989. "In the office of the presidency", he said in 2013, "the most powerful position in the world brings many awesome and solemn responsibilities - this is not one of them".

It wasn't until 1963 that President John F. Kennedy offered a glimmer of hope to a donated Thanksgiving bird, saying, "Let's keep him going", which The Washington Post reported using the words "reprieve" and "pardon", according to the WHHA. They will spend retirement at a farm in southwestern Virginia after being pardoned.

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