Trump pardons Drumstick, the National Thanksgiving Turkey(8 images)
President Donald Trump pardoned Drumstick, a turkey raised in Minnesota, at the White House on Tuesday, part of an annual Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Civil War era. Both Drumstick and the alternate turkey, Wishbone, will live out their days at a children's farm not far from the White House. Photos by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
President Donald Trump (R) pardons Drumstick, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, as he is joined by National Turkey Federation Chairman Carl Wittenburg (second from right) and members of the Wittenberg family, during the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony in the Rose Garden.
Trump, joined by his son Barron, delivers remarks before pardoning Drumstick the turkey. "We've hosted dozens of incredible world leaders, members of Congress and along the way a few very strange birds," said Trump. "But we have yet to receive any visitors quite like our magnificent guest of honor today -- Drumstick." Abraham Lincoln is said to have been the first president to pardon a turkey in 1863.
Gifting turkeys to the first family was seen as a symbol of "good cheer" in the early 20th century. First lady Grace Coolidge accepted a bird from a Girl Scout in 1925. Rosalynn Carter sent their turkey to live in a mini zoo in 1978. Not long after the Reagans established the tradition of sending turkeys to live on a farm. Current first lady Melania Trump attends the first turkey pardoning of the Trump administration.
Drumstick, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, is seen before being pardoned. Drumstick, along with an alternate named Wishbone, will join past pardoned turkeys at Gobblers Rest on the campus of Virginia Tech University. Former President Barack Obama pardoned turkeys Tator and Tot last year.
Trump joked about his tendency to overturn Obama's previous executive orders, but said he would not being doing so in Tator and Tot's case. "I have been informed by the White House counsel's office that Tator and Tot's pardons cannot under any circumstances be revoked," Trump said.