In a show of magnanimity, President Donald Trump pardoned not one, but two turkeys — named “Peas” and “Carrots” — but warned each of them that House Democrats and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals might seek to overturn his action.
Trump made his pronouncement from the White House Rose Garden, noting that the pardoning of a turkey during the holidays is said to have first occurred under President Abraham Lincoln in the 1860s.
Lincoln’s son Tad reputedly became attached to a bird designated for the White House Christmas celebration and begged his father to spare the fowl, and the 16th president acceded to the request.
Peas originally won an online White House poll to decide which turkey would get the pardon this year.
“Unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount,” Trump joked in an obvious reference to Democrat candidates Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson in Florida, and Stacey Abrams in Georgia.
Which turkey should be pardoned during the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony?
After the pardoning, Peas and Carrots will live at Virginia Tech’s “Gobblers Rest” exhibit.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 19, 2018
“We’re still fighting with Carrots,” the president added, drawing laughter from those in attendance.
Peas and Carrots, hailing from South Dakota, were part of the presidential flock consisting of 50 turkeys raised under the supervision of the National Turkey Foundation, according to CBS News.
Because Trump decided to pardon both the finalist and runner-up, they will live out their days at Gobbler’s Rest on the campus of Virginia Tech University.
The president added a caveat: “It won’t be entirely a rest. Even though Peas and Carrots have received a presidential pardon, I have warned them that House Democrats are likely to issue them both subpoenas.”
At the annual White House turkey pardon just now, Pres. Trump took a Thanksgiving-themed swipe at Democrats: “Even though Peas and Carrots have received a presidential pardon, I have warned them that House Democrats are likely to issue them both subpoenas” https://t.co/QYgxOoTOJC pic.twitter.com/7NLo1oVA88
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 20, 2018
He further advised the birds, “Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that the pardons won’t be enjoined by the 9th Circuit. It always happens.”
The 9th Circuit originally blocked implementation of Trump’s so-called travel ban in 2017, which the Supreme Court went on to overrule.
On Monday, a district court judge from the circuit also stopped implementation of the president’s executive order requiring those seeking asylum to present themselves at a port of entry.
ABC News reported the formal tradition of pardoning a turkey began in 1989 under President George H.W. Bush as animal rights activists protested nearby.
“Let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table,” Bush said at the event. “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.”
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