On Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, President Obama pardoned the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony at the White House. The President celebrated the 67th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving, and wish American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday. In a hat tip to the recent executive order he issued, MSNBC reported Obama said, “Today, I’m taking an action fully within my legal authority.” To great laughter, Obama continued, “The same kind of action taken by Democrats and Republican presidents before me — to spare the lives of two turkeys, Mac and Cheese, from a terrible and delicious fate.”
“I know some will call this amnesty, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of turkey to go around,” said Obama. “Finally, The Washington Post recently questioned the wisdom of the whole turkey pardon tradition. “Typically on the day before Thanksgiving,” the story went, “the man who makes decisions about wars, virus outbreaks, terrorism cells and other dire matters of state, chooses to pardon a single turkey … plus an alternate.”
The President pardoned Cheese and his alternate Mac, both 20-week old, approximately 48-pound Turkeys. The names of turkeys were chosen from submissions by Ohio students and Morven Park visitors. This year, the American public once again decided which of the two turkeys – Mac or Cheese – would become the 2014 National Thanksgiving Turkey by casting a vote for #TeamMac or #TeamCheese on Twitter.
National Turkey Federation Chairman Gary Cooper of Ft. Recovery, Ohio, his wife Cheryl, and seven members of the Cooper family will be in attendance at today’s ceremony. Cooper’s son, Cole, raised and selected the turkeys that will be presented to President Obama. Both of the birds were raised antibiotic-free.
After the pardoning, the turkeys traveled to their permanent home at Morven Park’s “Turkey Hill,” the historic turkey farm located at the home of former Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis (1918-1922) in Leesburg, Virginia. The National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will be on display for visitors at Morven Park’s Turkey Hill.
Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pennsylvania, presented the First Family with two dressed turkeys that will be donated to a local area food bank.
Later in the day, President Obama and his family went to Bread for the City in southeast Washington, D.C., where Obama and his daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, and her mother Marion Robinson were standing at long tables, handing out food to a line of people that snaked out a door. Obama wore a more casual outfit and clad in a grey checked sweater. He was wishing people Happy Thanksgiving one by one as they went by and handing them plastic bags of sweet potatoes. “How are you?…Nice to see you,” he said.
Malia was in a navy-blue sweater, smiling broadly and handing out canned cranberries and green beans. To her left was First Lady Michelle Obama, wearing a grey top under a grey hooded sweater, and large sparkly hoop earrings. Michelle Obama was handing out turnips. To her left was Sasha, in a blue and red checked shirt with buttons down the front, who was, according to the White House, handing out hand-mixed vegetables and White House Hershey kisses. Mrs. Robinson was distributing fresh bread.