While “pardoning” a turkey ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, US President Donald Trump got in a few jabs at the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry and the media.
Two turkeys, named Bread and Butter, were presented to the president on Tuesday at the White House Rose Garden, and Butter received the traditional presidential pardon. With the ceremony itself being tongue-in-cheek, Trump used it to needle the impeachment inquiry, led by House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-California).
Bread and Butter “have already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday,” he said. “It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on Turkey. At least I’ve actually met them, unlike most of the other witnesses.”
TRUMP: The Pardoned Turkeys Bread and Butter “have already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday.”
“I expect this pardon will be a very popular one with the media. After all, Turkeys are closely related to vultures.”
SAVAGE 🔥 pic.twitter.com/tT6zmyFANe
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 26, 2019
Trump also threw shade on the White House press corps, saying that he expected the pardon to be popular with them since “turkeys are closely related to vultures.”
Democrats and NeverTrump conservatives were quick to make jokes about Trump demanding a bribe for the pardon (as neocon David Frum put it), or extorting the turkeys to dig up some dirt on the Bidens, the key claim in the impeachment inquiry.
Trump just brought up #impeachment and @RepAdamSchiff while pardoning two turkeys today. What’s more surprising is that he isn’t asking “Bread and Butter” to dig up dirt on Biden in return for their lives.
— Steve Westly (@SteveWestly) November 26, 2019
Lindsey Graham was immediately seen praising our POTUS and the turkeys and pledging that he will spend his remaining days on earth protecting them from all who might prey on them. Unless Trump says to kill them, in which case he will snap their necks with his mouth.
— (((Howard Forman))) (@thehowie) November 26, 2019
Others complained that Trump was bringing politics into Thanksgiving, though their objections were conspicuously absent on Monday when a Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) did just that, tweeting an infographic with impeachment “talking points.”
Heading home this week? Don’t let impeachment *Ukraine* on your Thanksgiving.
— Mike Quigley (@RepMikeQuigley) November 25, 2019
Meanwhile, media outlets ranging from Reuters to NowThis were busy reminiscing about the days of Barack Obama’s presidency, using the occasion to recycle video of his jokes at the pardoning in 2016.
A look back: President Obama followed in the footsteps of past presidents and spared two lucky turkeys, Tater and Tot, in 2016 pic.twitter.com/bmtp3PsNUI
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 26, 2019
Though only Butter was pardoned, both turkeys will be sent to Gobbler’s Rest in Blacksburg, Virginia, a facility run by Virginia Tech.
While the presentation of turkeys to the White House is a tradition going back to 1947, the pardon is a relatively new twist, dating back to the George H. W. Bush administration (1989-1992). Bush the elder reportedly issued the pardon inspired by protesting animal rights activists, starting a tradition that has been upheld by every president since.
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