Thanksgiving 2017: Trump uses presidential pardoning power to spare Drumstick and Wishbone

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U.S. President Donald Trump pardons "Drumstick" the turkey during the 70th National Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 21, 2017. Reuters/Jim Bourg

US President Donald Trump opted to spare on Tuesday a pair of turkey, Drumstick and Wishbone, from any Thanksgiving table. The POTUS started a ceremony in the Rose Garden with a history of turkey pardoning.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Trump granted the presidential pardon on the turkeys. He introduced the “magnificent guest of honour for today,” Drumstick.

Trump said he thought Drumstick is going to be very happy, adding that the turkey has a bright future ahead of him. The turkey and “his friend Wishbone” will join Tater and Tot, the turkeys pardoned by former US President Barack Obama last year.

Trump thanked everyone in attendance and wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving. The commander-in-chief expressed his gratitude for the defence of the nation, its freedom and the American flag. He also thanked the law enforcement, service men and women and first responders.

Trump was joined by his wife Melania, son Barron and daughters Ivanka and Tiffany. As he approached the turkey, Trump exclaimed that Drumstick is a big bird, and that he feels so good about himself "doing this.”

“As many of you know, I have been very active in overturning executive actions of my predecessor,” Trump joked. He has been told Tater and Tots’ pardons cannot be revoked, so the two turkeys can rest easy.

“This Thursday, as we give thanks for our cherished loved ones, let us also renew our bonds of trust, loyalty, and affection between our fellow citizens as members of a proud national family of Americans,” Trump said. The Rose Garden was filled with laughter as the president wrapped up the pardon. When the short ceremony was done, Ivanka, her daughter Arabella, and Tiffany touched the turkey.

White House chief of staff John Kelly joked to reporters that he had advised the POTUS against the pardons. Trump noted that the National Turkey Federation first presented a Thanksgiving turkey to Harry Truman seventy years ago.

Trump joked that Truman was a “tough cookie” for not granting the pardon. He added he is going to be a much nicer president.

George H. W. Bush started the annual pardon tradition in 1989 when he spared a turkey, whose name was unknown. Trump was expected to head to Mar-a-Lago, his “winter White House” in Florida, for the Thanksgiving.