WASHINGTON – The official turkey of the United States, or TOTUS, as President Barack Obama called him, got a pardon from POTUS on Wednesday in the Rose Garden at the White House.
After meeting with French President François Hollande Tuesday and making a statement on homeland security earlier in the day, Obama fulfilled one of his lighter duties as commander in chief.
The turkey pardoning is an annual White House tradition that many say began 68 years ago, when President Harry Truman pardoned a turkey in 1947.
Abe took a stroll around the Rose Garden before taking the official honors on a table strewn with fall leaves. He and Honest, the second turkey, will be moved to a permanent home at Morven Park’s Turkey Hill, an educational farm in Leesburg, Va.
The 40-pound, 18-week old turkeys were named by school children in California, where the turkeys were raised in the Central Valley. National Turkey Federation Chairman Jihad Douglas supervised the turkeys on the farm and stood at the president’s side for the pardon.
Joined by his daughters, the president spoke about “challenging times” and difficult days.
“But the fact is, is that we live in the greatest country on Earth, and we are blessed in so many ways, most of all because we have families and friends and people we care about. We look out for each other. We look out for our neighbors and our friends. We’re grateful for the brave men and women of our military who serve all around the world, and for the families that miss them. I’m especially grateful to have the privilege and the honor to serve as your President,” Obama said.
Noting it was his seventh year pardoning a turkey for Thanksgiving, Obama said, “I am going to publicly thank Malia and Sasha for, once again, standing here with me during the Turkey Pardon. They do this solely because it makes me feel good. Not because they actually think that this is something I should be doing. And as you get older, you appreciate when your kids just indulge you like this, so I’m very grateful.”
Later in the afternoon, the Obamas helped to serve a Thanksgiving dinner to homeless veterans at a Friendship Place, which provides assistance to the veterans. The president served the turkey.
Reach reporter Amanda Guillen at [email protected] or 202-408-1490. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook, Instagram and follow us on Twitter.