[Full Video, Transcript & Photos] President Donald Trump Pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey 2017 at Traditional White House Ceremony

Watch live video — and later see full replay and photos — President Donald Trump pardoning the National Thanksgiving turkey on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 alongside First Lady Melania Trump at the traditional White House ceremony. See it in real time via live stream video online at 1 p.m. ET. Thereafter check back for the full replay video, photos and transcript text which will be added below as soon as they are available.

UPDATE: Full replay video, transcript and photos are below.

Remarks by President Trump at the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony

Rose Garden

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.)

Embed from Getty Images

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.

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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


A post shared by The White House (@whitehouse) on

The embedded live web-feed video player is above. The ceremony, officially known as the “National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation” is held at the White House Rose Garden and begins at 1 p.m. ET (GMT/UTC – 5). Use the World Clock to find the equivalent in time zone on Tuesday, November 21 or Wednesday, November 22, accordingly.

The turkeys this year are Drumstick and Wishbone. Every year, it is the chairman of the National Turkey Federation who raises the national Thanksgiving turkey. One turkey will take part in the ceremony but both of them will be spared from the Thanksgiving dinner table to live out the rest of their natural lives at Virginia Tech’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department at “Gobbler’s Rest” in Blacksburg, Virginia. It’s here that veterinarians and students will care for them alongside last year’s turkeys, Tater and Tot.

See pictures and video of of the National Turkeys from social media below.

As per tradition, President Donald Trump has issued Presidential Proclamation that Thursday, November 23, 2017, is a National Day of Thanksgiving. It reads in part:

“….This Thanksgiving, in addition to rejoicing in precious time spent with loved ones, let us find ways to serve and encourage each other in both word and deed. We also offer a special word of thanks for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, many of whom must celebrate this holiday separated from the ones for whom they are most thankful. As one people, we seek God’s protection, guidance, and wisdom, as we stand humbled by the abundance of our great Nation and the blessings of freedom, family, and faith….”

Full text is here.

President Donald Trump’s public schedule for Tuesday, November 21, 2017 is below (EDT; GMT/UTC – 4).

1:00 p.m. –Pardons the National Turkey; Rose Garden
3:00 p.m. –Departs White House
5:35 p.m. –Arrives West Palm Beach Florida

Scroll down for live stream and replays of other Trump administration public events. Click here for the full index of posts on President Donald Trump. Click here for the full index of posts on First Lady Melania Trump.

Photo credit: screenshot via White House YouTube

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[Video] President Donald Trump Pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey 2017


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