The tables will be turned on a U.S. president for the first time in 54 years this week, when a sacrificial turkey chosen for the White House holiday feast will decide whether Donald Trump should be the one pardoned instead for Thanksgiving.
The pardoning tradition, begun by John F. Kennedy in 1963 when he announced that a 55-pound Tom turkey brought to the White House Rose Garden for eventual slaughter should be allowed to live, is typically conducted in the White House Rose Garden a few days before Thanksgiving.
This year, millions of Americans across the country, and not just vegetarians, petitioned for the turkey to decide the fate of the president, rather than the other way around, and event organizers appear to be bowing to public pressure.
“We have an unusual situation here,” said National Turkey Federation President Charles Poult, who decides which turkey will be sent to the White House for judgement each year. “On one hand, our turkeys have never been asked to give a U.S. president the thumbs up or down before. On the other hand, we’re not confident that President Trump would be merciful to this turkey. Some of our breeders fear he might snap its neck right there in the Rose Garden, which would be a terrible sight for the hundreds of thousands of children watching on TV who expect an act of presidential compassion.”
Mr. Poult says that President Trump would be the first commander in chief to refuse a turkey reprieve, “but everyone knows he likes to play the tough guy, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he started plucking the bird and basting it on the spot.”
For that reason, as well as the fact that Mr. Trump “certainly has more reason to beg for forgiveness than our gobbler does,” Mr. Poult and his turkey team have agreed to allow the prized bird to pass judgement on the president in a historic break from tradition.
“Our Tom will be fair, I can tell you that” concluded Mr. Poult, “but he also knows a foolish fowl when he sees one, so I wouldn’t be strutting too confidently if I was that turkey Trump. He really hasn’t earned a pardon yet and, frankly, he probably doesn’t deserve one.”
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