WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump emerged from self-imposed isolation on Tuesday to show that at least one thing in Washington would run according to tradition: the pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey.
In the Rose Garden, Trump stuck to the script in pardoning a 42-pound turkey named Corn as part of an annual presidential ritual, the sparing of a turkey from American dinner tables on the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.
“Corn, I hereby grant you a full pardon,” Trump said, raising a hand over the white bird with long wattle.
Corn gobbled approvingly after the pardon to applause from the seated crowd of White House staffers, many of them wearing masks to guard against the coronavirus.
Since losing the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden three weeks ago, Trump has defied custom. There’s been no concession speech and no phone call to Biden. He has largely remained out of sight.
Trump has bitterly fought the results of the Nov. 3 election with nothing to show for it. His administration’s move to allow for a proper transition of power to Biden on Monday was a sign that he knows he is a lame-duck president, but one reluctant to cede the stage.
Trump’s annual trek to his oceanfront Mar-a-Lago resort for the Thanksgiving holiday was canceled by first lady Melania Trump, a move seen internally as a sign the Trumps realize this will be the last such holiday they spend at the White House.
When the Dow Jones cracked 30,000 on Tuesday, Trump was so eager to take credit for it that aides scrambled to get the White House briefing room ready for his hastily arranged appearance and shouted at reporters to take their seats.
“The stock market Dow Jones Industrial Average just hit 30,000, which is the highest in history,” said Trump. “We’ve never broken 30,000. And that’s despite everything that’s taken place with the pandemic.”
Trump’s abrupt appearance was a show of defiance to analysts who said the market’s climb was in response to the start of the transition.
(Reporting By Steve Holland)