- President Trump took part in his first turkey pardoning as president Tuesday, appearing alongside Melania and Barron Trump
- Trump pardoned the Minnesota-bred Drumstick, who will live out the rest of his life at Virginia Tech alongside understudy Wishbone
- At the ceremony, Trump noted that he’s been ‘very active in overturning a number of executive action by my predecessor,’ President Obama
- However, upon checking with the White House counsel’s office, Trump said he was informed he couldn’t revoke the pardons of Tater and Tot from last year
Trump, standing alongside first lady Melania Trump and his 11-year-old son Barron, pointed out that in his first ten months in office he’s worked to overturn the executive actions of his predecessor, President Obama.
‘However, I have been informed by the White House counsel’s office that Tater and Tot’s pardon cannot, under any circumstances, be revoked,’ the president joked, name-dropping the heir and the spare of last year’s turkey pardon.
Trump, speaking for under 10 minutes, noted how the tradition of having a turkey presented to the president from the National Turkey Federation started 70 years ago during the administration of Harry S. Truman.
Truman, he noted, ‘did not grant the pardon,’ Trump said, describing the Democrat as a ‘tough cookie.’
‘Today I’m going to be a much nicer president,’ Trump said, complimenting himself.
‘Over the past 10 months, Melania and I have had the pleasure of welcoming many, many special visitors to the great White House,’ Trumps said. ‘We’ve hosted dozens of incredible world leaders, members of Congress and, along the way, a few very strange birds.’
‘But we have yet to receive any visitors quite like our magnificent guest of honor today, Drumstick,’ Trump said.
‘Drumstick, I think is going to be very happy,’ Trump purred.
On hand at today’s pardon was daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump, sitting alongside her husband, also a White House aide, Jared Kushner and daughter Arabella and son Joseph.
Tiffany Trump, who attends the nearby Georgetown University Law Center, was also on hand.
Carl Wittenburg, the National Turkey Foundation’s chairman, who raised the birds, said Drumstick and Wishbone – the understudy – were selected from a flock of 80 for ‘their character, their temperament, their showmanship and how they looked strutting their stuff.’
‘So that’s really what it gets down to,’ Wittenburg told DailyMail.com. ‘Can they handle the show.’
Trump called out the efforts of Wittenburg and his family, along with the local 4-H chapter who assisted them in raising the birds.
‘And I want to say great work,’ Trump said. ‘Great jobs you guys.’
The two birds arrived in Washington, D.C., Sunday night and were put up in the lavish Willard Hotel, a turkey pardoning tradition.
On Monday, at a press conference at the Willard the birds’ names were announced and the White House put up a Twitter poll for Americans to vote on which turkey should get the official pardon.
Both birds, the star and the understudy, will get to lives out the rest of their lives at the ‘Gobbler’s Rest’ exhibit at Virginia Tech.
‘Beautiful place,’ Trump cooed.
Turkeys bred for slaughter are generally morbidly obese, with many of the presidents’ pardoned turkeys living less than a year.
However, last year’s birds, Tater and Tot, are still kicking it at Virginia Tech, which Trump noted before joking that he thought about yanking their pardon.
‘Tater and Tot, you can rest easy,’ Trump said.
As for this year’s birds, Wittenburg said he could tell the birds apart, as Drumstick is taller.
On Twitter, the White House described Drumstick as having a ‘tall and proud’ strut and being a lover of classic rock, especially the band Journey.
Wishbone shuffles when he walks, the White House said, and enjoys country music, including hits by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
While Wishbone wasn’t picked by the public, he also got a taste of fame Tuesday, appearing briefly alongside Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the White House briefing room.
During the Obama years, the White House also offered an online poll to have Americans decide which turkey the president would choose.
As Trump mentioned, American presidents were annually presented with a turkey starting in 1947, though the event didn’t officially turn into a ‘pardoning’ ceremony until the Ronald Reagan years.
Reagan pardoned ‘Charlie’ the turkey in 1987.
President George H.W. Bush made it into an annual tradition when he took office in 1989.
And the tradition was respected through the Clinton and Bush 43 years.
President Obama tried to make the pardoning a family affair, having daughters Sasha and Malia participate for the first seven years he was in office.
Last year however, the girls, now in their teens, were replaced by younger models, with President Obama’s nephews Aaron and Austin Robinson standing alongside the president as he pardoned Tot.
During the Obama years the turkeys also got star treatment, staying at the Willard most years, or at the W, the more modern luxury hotel next door.
Source: Daily Mail UK
Featured Image: AP Photo/File
Inset Image: Getty Images