The White House has gone to the birds—two turkeys from North Carolina, to be exact.
The annual tradition of the president pardoning a turkey occurred just before Thanksgiving.
The 2019 national Thanksgiving turkeys were raised by the 2019 National Turkey Federation Chairman Kerry Doughty and Butterball grower Wellie Jackson.
The White House held a contest for the public to choose which turkey would receive an official presidential pardon—“Bread” or “Butter.” According to the birds’ official descriptions, Bread is a fan of college basketball and Cheerwine, a cherry cola made in North Carolina. Butter is a fan of sweet potato fries and is training for the turkey trot.
Fans chose to pardon Butter by only three-tenths of a margin. However, Bread will also live to see another day. There is always an alternate bird just in case.
As is tradition, the turkeys stayed at the Willard Hotel the night prior to their pardoning. I believe this is more for humans than the turkeys, as the Willard is one of the fanciest and most historic hotels in Washington. The turkeys still had shavings strewn throughout their room, but I’m sure their mess was less to clean up than previous guests.
On Nov. 26, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pardoned Butter during the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House.
President Trump said, “It’s said that Abraham Lincoln was the first president to spare a Thanksgiving turkey, at the request of his son. In 1947, President Harry Truman accepted the first annual National Thanksgiving Turkey. In the decades that followed, presidents, from Kennedy to Reagan, would show mercy…to their birds, but it was George H.W. Bush who first issued an official pardon.”
The president was interrupted by gobbles from Butter.
He continued, “Thankfully, Bread and Butter have been specially raised by the Jacksons to remain calm under any condition, which will be very important because they’ve already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday. It’s true. Hundreds of people have. It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey.”
“But, Bread and Butter, I should note that unlike previous witnesses, you and I have actually met. It’s very unusual. Very unusual.”
Both presidential turkeys will live out the rest of their lives at Gobblers Rest on the Virginia Tech campus, making them the fourth set of turkeys to do so. The duo will join the 2018 presidential turkeys Peas and Carrots at Gobblers Rest. The previous presidential turkeys have passed, as they only live a couple years.
Veterinarians and students will take care of the birds, and they will also be on public display.
Bread and Butter will be reunited with an old friend, the Virginia Tech mascot HokieBird, who visited with the two turkeys at the Willard Hotel prior to their pardoning.
Though a bit of a “hokie” tradition, this ceremony a nice reminder to all Americans of the importance of agriculture to our country.
Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.