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Trump pardons two Thanksgiving turkeys, jokes about killing Obama's birds

President Donald Trump joined the ranks of presidents to pardon turkeys at the White House Tuesday, granting Drumstick the turkey mercy in the Rose Garden.
Image: US President Donald Trump pardons Thanksgiving turkey Drumstick
U.S. President Donald Trump pardons Thanksgiving turkey Drumstick in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 21, 2017.Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday joined the ranks of presidents to pardon turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving, granting Drumstick and Wishbone the turkey mercy in the Rose Garden.

Joined by first lady Melania Trump and son Barron, Trump said he was "pleased to report that unlike millions of other turkeys at this time of year, Drumstick has a very bright future ahead of him." The president, saying "Hi, Drumstick," predicted the turkey "is going to be very happy."

Both Drumstick and his friend Wishbone will live out their years at Virginia Tech's "Gobbler's Rest" enclosure, where last year's pardoned turkeys — Tater and Tot — currently reside after then-President Barack Obama kept them off the carving board.

Trump noted that he's been "very active in overturning" executive actions taken by his predecessor — but not this time.

"I have been informed by the White House counsel's office that Tater and Tot's pardons cannot, under any circumstances, be revoked," Trump joked. "So, Tater and Tot, you can rest easy."

Drumstick — described as a classic 47-pound bird with a "tall and proud" strut — was dubbed 2017's National Thanksgiving Turkey, besting Wishbone in an online poll, 60-40 percent.

Wishbone mounted a last-ditch effort for votes by making a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room earlier in the day. Ultimately, the political gamble did not garner any last-minute surge in the poll.

The turkey pardoning is a longstanding White House tradition and after several minutes of remarks on a crisp fall day, Trump and the turkeys were ready to get on with it.

"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,'" Trump said.

The president heads to Florida after the ceremony for his own Thanksgiving retreat at his Mar a Lago club.