POLITICS
11/21/2017 03:11 pm ET Updated Nov 21, 2017

Trump Pardons Turkey In Thanksgiving Ceremony You Didn't Think Could Get Any Weirder

"Drumstick has a very, very bright future ahead of him."

WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, who has raised eyebrows by mulling his power to pardon as investigators probe possible ties between his 2016 election campaign and Russia, used his authority in a less controversial way on Tuesday to “pardon” a Thanksgiving turkey.

Joined by his wife, Melania, and their son, Barron, Trump entered the Rose Garden for the annual presidential tradition and granted freedom to a large white bird named Drumstick.

“I’m pleased to report that, unlike millions of other turkeys at this time of the year, Drumstick has a very, very bright future ahead of him,” Trump said.

Donald Trump speaks as his son Barron and first lady Melania Trump listen during the 70th National Thanksgiving turkey pardon
Jim Bourg / Reuters
Donald Trump speaks as his son Barron and first lady Melania Trump listen during the 70th National Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House on November 21, 2017.
Donald Trump reaches out and touches "Drumstick" the turkey as he pardons the bird with his son Barron at his side.
Jim Bourg / Reuters
Donald Trump reaches out and touches "Drumstick" the turkey as he pardons the bird with his son Barron at his side.
Trump pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey, Drumstick, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Trump pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey, Drumstick, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden.

The Republican president couldn’t resist referring to his predecessor, former Democratic President Barack Obama, who pardoned two turkeys named Tater and Tot last year.

“As many of you know, I have been very active in overturning a number of executive actions by my predecessor,” Trump quipped. “However, I have been informed by the White House Counsel’s Office that Tater and Tot’s pardons cannot, under any circumstances, be revoked.”

The turkeys will live at an enclosure at a nearby university, Virginia Tech.

Allegations of potential ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Moscow have loomed over the White House and investigations are ongoing. Trump and Moscow have denied collusion. In a message on Twitter in July, Trump noted that as president he had “complete power to pardon.”

 

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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