President Trump says that while he’s been “very active” in overturning Obama-era policies, revoking turkey pardons won’t be among them.
“As many of you know, I’ve been very active in overturning a number of executive actions by my predecessor,” Trump said as he participated in his first turkey pardoning ceremony on Tuesday in the Rose Garden.
“However, I have been informed by the White House counsel’s office that Tater and Tot’s pardons cannot, under any circumstances, be revoked,” he added, referring to the turkeys pardoned by former President Barack Obama last year.
“So we’re not going to revoke them. So Tater and Tot: You can rest easy.”
Introducing the two turkeys picked for this year’s ceremony, Wishbone and Drumstick, Trump told the crowd, “Over the past 10 months, Melania and I have had the pleasure of welcoming many, many special visitors to the great White House.”
“We’ve hosted dozens of incredible world leaders, members of Congress, and along the way, a few very strange birds,” he continued. “But we have yet to receive any visitors quite like our magnificent guest of honor today, Drumstick.”
While it was Trump’s inaugural turkey pardon as commander in chief, the tradition of a president giving the feathered creatures a Thanksgiving reprieve was started by former President George H.W. Bush in 1989, according to the White House Historical Association, though it began as far back as the administration of Abraham Lincoln.
The National Turkey Federation first presented a turkey to President Harry Truman in 1947, making this year the 70th anniversary of the Thanksgiving ritual.
Following their time in the spotlight at the White House, this year’s Minnesota-raised birds will head to the “Gobblers Rest” exhibit at Virginia Tech, where they’ll be cared for by students and veterinarians.
Tater and Tot currently reside on the Blacksburg campus.
Although Drumstick was chosen as the 2017 National Thanksgiving Turkey via an online vote, both birds will live out their days in Virginia.
According to the White House, the 47-pound turkey’s favorite band is Journey and it has a “tall and proud” strut style.
“Drumstick I think is going to be very, very happy,” Trump said, adding the turkey has a “very bright future ahead of him.”
Trump continued to smile and pose for photos with wife Melania and their son Barron as someone in the press area was heard shouting, “Will you pardon any people?” following the ceremony.
Trump’s 24-year-old daughter, Tiffany, was spotted sitting in the audience at the annual event. Older daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump was eyed along with her 6-year-old daughter, Arabella, as they approached the turkeys after the pardoning ceremony.