Thanksgiving Tradition Continues: Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoned

Posted November 22, 2017

It's become part of the annual tradition of the White House Thanksgiving turkey ritual: voting to see which of the two official birds will be pardoned, and which will be the alternate.

President Trump was joined by First Lady Melania and their son Barron, as he pardoned Drumstick. Tater and Tot, who Obama ceremoniously dubbed TOTUSes during their pardoning a year ago, also still live at the Virginia university in its "Gobblers Rest" exhibit - a custom built enclosure for the birds.

I get it. It's a tradition 70-years strong to pardon a couple of Presidential turkeys before Thanksgiving.

How to watch: The White House will be live-streaming the occasion.

"Wow, big bird", the President said as he approached the 36-pound turkey, petting it several times.

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"I have been informed by the White House counsel's office that Tater and Tot's pardons can not under any circumstances be revoked", he joked.

President Donald Trump is using his pardon power to keep a pair of turkeys from the Thanksgiving roaster. "So Tater and Tot, you can rest easy", Trump said of last year's feathered guests.

The annual pardoning ceremony only began in 1989 under President George H.W. Bush, though earlier presidents occasionally said they planned to spare the animals they were presented.

What to expect: Under former President Barack Obama, the event included a lot of dad jokes about presidential pardoning power and turkeys.