1:07 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all for being here, and welcome to the White House. A very special place. On behalf of Melania, Barron, and the entire Trump family, I want to wish you and all Americans a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving. And I hear that beautiful turkey. (Laughter.)
We are here today to continue a wonderful American tradition. Today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will grant a presidential pardon to a turkey. (Laughter.)
I’m especially pleased that we’re joined for this great occasion by Carl Wittenburg, Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, along with his wife, Sharlene, and sons, Nate and Wyatt.
It was 70 years ago that the National Turkey Federation first presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey to President Harry Truman — who, I might add, did not grant the pardon. He refused. He was a tough cookie. (Laughter.) Today, I’m going to be a much nicer President.
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. But we have yet to receive any visitors quite like our magnificent guest of honor today — Drumstick. Hi, Drumstick. Oh, Drumstick, I think, is going to be very happy.
I’m pleased to report that, unlike millions of other turkeys at this time of the year, Drumstick has a very, very bright future ahead of him. Drumstick was raised on Carl and Sharlene’s turkey farm in Douglas County, Minnesota, with the help of five young women from the Douglas County 4-H chapter who are here with us today. And I want to say, great work. Where are they? Please stand. Great job you’ve done. (Applause.) 4-H. That’s great. Thank you.
Upon being pardoned, Drumstick and his friend, Wishbone, will live out their days at “Gobbler’s Rest” — beautiful place. It’s custom-built; it’s an enclosure on the campus of Virginia Tech. Tremendous school. There, they’ll join Tater and Tot, the two turkeys pardoned last year by President Obama.
As many of you know, I have been very active in overturning a number of executive actions by my predecessor. However, I have been informed by the White House Counsel’s Office that Tater and Tot’s pardons cannot, under any circumstances, be revoked. So we’re not going to revoke them. So, Tater and Tot, you can rest easy.
I’d also like to thank the National Turkey Federation for bringing along two other turkeys from Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pennsylvania — the great state of Pennsylvania. We’re donating these turkeys to Martha’s Table, a truly fantastic charity right here in Washington D.C., which provides warm meals to people in need. They do a fantastic job.
Before we get to the pardon, I would like to take a moment to extend our very heartfelt special message: Thanks. Thanks, folks — to the finest and bravest people in the entire world, our great men and women in uniform: the military, law enforcement, first responders. These are incredible people. So, thank you.
Many of you are always — and you know your loved ones — and you’re far away, and you spend so much time away. This Thanksgiving, I want each of you to know that we’re forever grateful for the incredible job and for the incredible sacrifices that you and your families make in defense of our nation, our freedom, and our truly great American flag.
I’d also like to express my thanks to the wonderful citizens of our country — the people who care for our communities, raise America’s children, uphold our laws and our values, and make this amazing land into our national home.
As we gather together with our families on Thanksgiving and give thanks for our many blessings, we are reminded of the national family to which we all belong as citizens of this incredible country.
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.
And now I think Drumstick and Wishbone would be very thankful if we would just get around to the pardon. They say,
“Enough talk, please pardon us.”
So I want to thank everybody for being here today and wish everybody a very, very happy Thanksgiving — very special people a very special country.
Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
1:14 P.M. EST