Thanks to a pardon from President Donald Trump both “Peas” and “Carrots” got away with their lives at the annual White House event.
The president, joined by First Lady Melania Trump, issued this year’s pardon to Peas, a 40-pound bird from South Dakota, and his alternate Carrots. Like last year, the winner and the alternate were decided in an online poll.
“That turkey is so lucky. I’ve never seen such a beautiful turkey,” Trump said as he marked the occasion on Tuesday. Peas won in an “a fair and open election,” Trump said, adding: “Unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount!” resulting in a laugh from the crowd in the Rose Garden.
Turkeys retiring at Gobbler’s Rest in Blackburg, Virgina
Following the ceremony, Peas and Carrots will travel to the nearby campus of Virginia Tech University where they will live out the rest of their days in “Gobbler’s Rest,” an enclosure managed by the university’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department.
“Gobbler’s Rest” has been the sanctuary of pardoned turkeys for the past three years, starting with President Barack Obama’s final birds, Tater and Tot. The pair was later joined by Trump’s first pair of pardons, Drumstick and Wishbone.
Trump jokingly states that the turkeys’ time on the farm may not be entirely restful. “I have warned them that House Democrats are likely to issue them both subpoenas” and he “can’t guarantee that your pardons won’t be enjoined by the Ninth Circuit.”
Putting the jokes aside, Trump concluded his remarks by saying that the Thanksgiving period is for unity, love and joy among all Americans.
The tradition of presidential turkey pardons can be traced back as far as 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln spared a Christmas turkey’s life after a plea from his son Tad, according to the White House Historical Association.
After the ceremony, Trump was traveling to his Florida estate later Tuesday to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family.