President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump participated in the annual turkey pardon on Tuesday afternoon in the White House Rose Garden. Justice was served alongside stuffing and cranberry sauce, as Trump made his official decision. For the second time in a week, the President’s pardon has landed him up to his neck in controversy.
While past presidents always opted to pardon one of the two birds presented at the ceremony, not only did Trump buck tradition by pardoning both turkeys, but he renamed them, as well. The birds formerly known as Bread and Butter, weren’t the first in Washington to be branded with nicknames by Trump, and they certainly won’t be the last. The President renamed the birds High Crimes and Misdeameanors (sic), and promptly pardoned both birds with a tweet. Earlier this week Trump pardoned a Navy Seal convicted of war crimes for posing with a dead body, and then later fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer over the controversy.
“I call this week Pardonapalooza,” yelled an animated Trump in front of a whirring helicopter. “These two birds, very fine birds, the best birds… I call them High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and like Navy Seal Gallagher, absolutely deserving of a full Presidential pardon.”
“This one here, High Crimes, people are saying he weighs sixty pounds, which makes him the biggest bird ever pardoned. Much bigger than Obama’s. Much, much bigger,” added the President.
The first turkey officially pardoned by a President happened during the John F. Kennedy administration, but it didn’t become a tradition until 1989 when George H.W. Bush decided he wanted to be known for pardoning more than just the Iran Contra felons.
This latest pardoning controversy comes amid a divisive impeachment battle that has made public revelations how Trump used his office to pressure a foreign government to investigate a political rival. Many Democrats, former Republicans, and generally anyone paying attention consider Trump’s actions as an abuse of office, and therefore impeachable. But by branding the Thanksgiving turkeys High Crimes and Misdemeanors, many critics assert that Trump is blurring the lines between what is impeachable and what is not. Both High Crimes and Misdemeanors will live out their lives at Gobbler’s Rest in Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, which is a much better fate than say, caged up immigrant children separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, seeking asylum.