Donald Trump has likely pardoned his final turkey. The 45th president issued a reprieve from the Thanksgiving table to a turkey named Corn Tuesday at the White House.
About 100 people turned out for the event, Politico said. Trump thanked the nation’s police and military, and applauded pharmaceutical efforts to create potential vaccines for the coronavirus.
“From our earliest days, America has always been a story of perseverance and triumph, determination and strength, loyalty and faith,” Trump said.
“This week in a time that is very unusual but in so many ways very, very good, what we’ve endured and been able to endure, with the vaccines now coming out, one after another, it’s an incredible thing that happened.”
So far, three companies — two in the U.S. and one in the U.K. – have created potential vaccines with efficacy rates at or above 90 percent, they’ve reported. The FDA will decide if the vaccines are safe enough to give to Americans.
Trump tweeted about the pardon after the event.
President Trump pardoned Corn and chose a second bird — Cob — as the back-up.
“We hope — and we know it’s going to happen — that Corn and Cob have a very long, happy and memorable life,” Trump said.
Trump didn’t bring up the election at the event or on Twitter Tuesday.
Next year, if current election results hold up, president-elect Joe Biden will select the turkey for pardoning. Trump has allowed the White House to begin the formal transition process to the incoming administration. While the president is still suing to overturn the election results, most of those lawsuits have been thrown out or withdrawn, the New York Times said.
The Bizarre History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon
The turkey event dates back to 1947. It seems like a fun, lighthearted affair, but it’s actually big business.
The National Turkey Federation, the lobby for the bird, produces the event, NPR said. Every year the group flies a group of turkeys to Washington, D.C. and puts them up in luxurious hotel rooms. They bring the haul to the president who chooses one to pardon. Though, President Ronald Reagan was the first to call it a pardon, even though it was a joke. It wasn’t an official pardon until George Bush Sr. in 1989, NPR said.
The pardoned birds used to be sent to Disneyland or Frying Pan Farm Park in Virginia. Though the last several years, the turkeys have been cooped up at Gobblers Rest at Virginia Tech’s Department of Animal and Poultry Science.