President Donald Trump partook in an annual White House Thanksgiving tradition today, pardoning not one, but two turkeys during a ceremony at his Washington, D.C. home.
Peas and Carrots, who hail from a farm near Huron, South Dakota, were running neck-and-neck in the White House-sponsored vote in which people could decide which turkey would be pardoned by the president, the Hill reported. When the results came in, it was revealed that Peas won the vote by less than one percentage point and would receive the official pardon from Trump — who also used the ceremony to joke about the recent recounts for the Florida gubernatorial and Senate races last week.
“This was a fair election,” the president said. “But Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount and we’re still fighting with Carrots.”
President Trump continued his comedic run, joking that the turkeys shouldn’t expect an entirely relaxing stay at Gobbler’s Rest — an exhibit in southwestern Virginia where the turkeys will spend the rest of their days — as House Democrats are still “likely to issue them both subpoenas.”
And despite the fact that both Peas and Carrots were receiving presidential pardons, Trump joked that they were not quite out of the woods, since a federal court could still block them.
Trump: "Peas, and Carrots will both live out the rest of their day at Gobblers Rest. ...However, 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" pic.twitter.com/hiZ7L6KViT— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 20, 2018
“Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that your pardons won’t be enjoined by the Ninth Circuit,” he told the gobblers, a reference to the fact that several of his executive orders and policy changes had been blocked — including a decision this morning by a federal judge barring the president from denying asylum to migrants entering the U.S. illegally. “Always happens. They guarantee it.”
“All joking aside, this is a time for Americans to unite together in a spirit of love, understanding, unity and joy, as one proud American family,” President Trump said. “Our nation is doing very well.”
Trump: "Peas, I hereby grant you a full pardon" pic.twitter.com/u6VQg4CdaH— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 20, 2018
President Trump took a moment during the event today to honor U.S. troops, and to remember the victims of California’s devastating wild fires.
“We pray for those in need, especially our fellow citizens impacted by the devastating wildfires in California where I just came back. I have never seen anything like it. Probably nobody has,” he said.
The @POTUS issues the annual "pardoning" of a turkey, this year named "Peas,” @WhiteHouse on Nov. 20, 2018. Along with his alternate "Carrots,” the turkeys will be sent to a petting zoo in Virginia. Photos by Mike Theiler for @UPI. pic.twitter.com/atUp6tIZQr— UPI Photos (@UPIPhotos) November 20, 2018
According to CNN, the tradition of pardoning turkeys goes back as far as the Lincoln administration, but was first documented in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy pardoned one of the birds, even though it didn’t catch on at that time.
It wasn’t until 1989 that President George H.W. Bush started up what has since become an annual Thanksgiving tradition at the White House.