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Every year since 1989, the president pardons Thanksgiving turkeys in a delightfully campy event where once is spared from the platter, the other bound for the slaughter.
(In reality, neither of the turkeys get eaten.)
This year, as they await the moment of truth, the pair are staying at the historic Willard InterContinental Washington hotel. They may be the only guests of the White House who aren’t staying at a Trump property.
President Donald Trump has been repeatedly accused of conflicts of interest because lobbyists, influence peddlers, think tanks, and sycophants, as well as representatives of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, and Russia, have stayed in his properties, arguably in an attempt to curry favor with the U.S. government. He’s also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of government money on lodging for himself and his administration at Mar-a-Lago, Trump International Hotel, and other Trump-owned properties.
Trump has insisted that it’s no “big deal.”
News of the turkeys’ D.C. residency, during which people will vote on which to pardon, inspired a wave of jokes and criticisms on Twitter. Not even the inclusion of some deeply hilarious photos of the turkeys gallivanting about the swanky hotel room could dissuade lots and lots of people from taking the opportunity to call Trump a turkey.
The Presidential Turkeys have arrived in DC! After their trek from North Carolina, the two birds are settled in at The @WillardHotel and are resting up for the ceremony on Tuesday.— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 25, 2019
Tune in tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET to learn their names and vote for which bird should be pardoned! pic.twitter.com/bSHd7gjwhM
“Before I vote…how do they each feel about impeachment??” tweeted @donnamreiss. “The turkey pardoned will be the one who compliments the President most on his impeccable hair and perfect phone calls,” joked @belmontfakemare.
Many noted parallels to Trump’s recent pardon of three military service members, two of whom had been convicted of murder. “The President will pardon whichever turkey was convicted of war crimes,” @bengodar tweeted. “Pardon whichever one killed an enemy combatant and then took lurid pictures with him,” added @scottevanjenk.
Did you name them Lev and Igor???— jeff heisler (@jrheisler) November 25, 2019
I fell the same way but it sad that most don't even think about it because it not on the news any more.— Sibyll Spence (@AuroraHellstorm) November 25, 2019
Real picture of the turkey pic.twitter.com/D7GlJwOVEL— Lun1sWorld (@Lun1sWorld) November 25, 2019
How dare you insult turkeys when POTUS is nothing but a piece of💩.— tony (@tony04738056) November 25, 2019
So if Trump properties are good enough for the Secret Service, members of the administration, political candidates, foreign governments, and the president himself, why aren’t they good enough for turkeys?
Perhaps because they hail from a little town called Clinton, North Carolina.
Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.