President Trump Pardons Turkey: Traditional Thanksgiving Ceremony In The White House
President Trump used his special power to grant pardon to the turkey named “Drumstick” for the very first time as the President on November 21st, 2017. Turkey pardoning, though relatively new, has become a yearly tradition at White House, when one lucky bird is spared from becoming Thanksgiving dinner just two days before the holiday.
President George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789; it became a federal holiday under President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. See how U.S. Presidents have celebrated over the years: https://t.co/XCvIBos1TM pic.twitter.com/ZKbzaT3xeT
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 23, 2017
Approaching the 36-pound bird, Trump petted it couple of times, saying,
Wow, big bird. Drumstick, you are hereby pardoned.
Trump’s wife, Melania, and his son, Barron, 11, who was wearing a tie and coat, were accompanying him.
Drumstick and Wishbone, another turkey, had arrived in White House a couple of days prior to the ceremony and were resting in a luxurious room at The Willard Intercontinental Hotel. Interestingly, the hotel room is paid for by the National Turkey Federation, the organization that annually provides two birds for the Thanksgiving pardoning tradition.
The custom is believed to have started under President Lincoln’s administration in 1963. He granted life to turkey, as his son, Tad, became friends with the bird, according to historians. But it has become an annual tradition only after George W. Bush pardoned a turkey in 1989 due to the protests of the animal rights activists. According to the White House Historical Society, Bush said,
Let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone's dinner table, not this guy – he's granted a presidential pardon as of right now -- and allow him to live out his days on a children's farm not far from here.
In 2009, President Barack Obama granted life to a North Carolina turkey named Courage, under the thorough watch of his daughters Sasha and Malia. The former president jokingly said,
I'm told Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson actually ate their turkeys. Today I am pleased to announce that thanks to the interventions of Malia and Sasha . . . Courage will . . . be spared this terrible and delicious fate.
This year, yet another lucky turkey escaped the ill fate of becoming a presidential dinner, and now it’s time for the next holiday. And the residents of the White House have already started their preparations!