Tuesday 17 September 2019

President jokes that pardoned turkeys face opposition grilling

Another lucky bird: One of the pardoned turkeys, Peas, on the White House lawn. Photo: Getty Images
Another lucky bird: One of the pardoned turkeys, Peas, on the White House lawn. Photo: Getty Images

Dean Gray

In an annual Thanksgiving tradition, US president Donald Trump used the power of his office yesterday to keep a pair of turkeys off the holiday table.

But Mr Trump jokingly warned that while the 39-pound bird named Peas and a 41-pounder named Carrots are free to live the rest of their lives, they may have to answer to Democrats.

The party will control the House beginning in January and has promised to investigate the president's actions and business dealings.

The White House conducted an online poll to determine which bird should be pardoned. Mr Trump identified the "lucky bird" as Peas.

"This was a fair election," joked the president, whose wife, first lady Melania Trump, was on hand to witness the act of mercy carried out during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.

"Unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount, and we're still fighting with Carrots. But I will tell you, we've come to a conclusion, Carrots. I'm sorry to tell you, the result did not change. That's too bad for Carrots."

Mr Trump pardoned both gobblers, who will be sent to Virginia Tech to be cared for by poultry science and veterinary students. Both were raised on a farm near Huron, South Dakota.

"I have warned them that House Democrats are likely to issue them both subpoenas," he said.

"Unfortunately, I can't guarantee that your pardons won't be enjoined by the Ninth Circuit." That was a reference to the San Francisco-based federal appeals court that has overturned some of Mr Trump's actions.

President George HW Bush established the annual turkey pardon tradition in 1989 by sparing a 50-pound bird.

Mr Trump is traveling to his Mar-a-Lago estate to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family in Florida.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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