Donald Trump caresses turkey's rear before pardoning it for Thanksgiving

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As Trump pardoned the turkeys, some of his political critics wondered if he planned to use his pardoning power as the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election continue.

"Today in the spirit of thanksgiving".

Mr Trump praised the turkey he was pardoning, Drumstick, as a "big bird" and played up its hopes for the years to come.

The birds from western Minnesota will be pardoned by President Donald Trump on Tuesday. This year, that's Carl Wittenburg from Alexandria, Minnesota. President Trump gave a special shout out to Wittenberg and the Presidential Crew, a group of 4-H students who helped bring the turkeys to Washington DC. "He was a tough cookie".

The first official turkey pardoning was done by former president George H.W. Bush in 1989, and the tradition has been carried on by every president ever since. Despite Trump's disagreements with President Obama he made a decision to keep Obama's pardons intact. "So Tater and Tot, you can rest easy", Trump joked.

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The message of the day was to be thankful.

And just for background here are some of Drumstick and Wishbone's vitals.

Trump will depart the White House this afternoon to spend Thanksgiving in Florida.

After the ceremony, the turkeys will travel to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., where they'll join Tater and Tot at the poultry science department's livestock judging pavilion, known as "Gobbler's Rest".