He began celebrating a healthy stock market and praised the country’s farmers, police and military. He also praised the enduring tradition of turkey grace, recalling its origins in the days of Abraham Lincoln. However, the signs of an unusually troubled year were obvious.
Trump praised the progress made in coronavirus vaccinations and thanked healthcare workers for their efforts to curb the epidemic. And although the president and the first lady wore no masks, the other participants covered their faces.
“From our earliest days, America has always been a history of perseverance and triumph, determination and strength, loyalty and faith,” Trump said. “This week is at a very unusual time, but in many ways it’s very, very good that we’ve been through and been able to endure, something incredible has happened one after the other with the upcoming vaccines.”
Trump made no mention of either the election or the announcement the night before that his administration would allow elected president Joe Biden to continue the transition. But while acknowledging armed services and law enforcement, Trump said, “America first – don’t break away from it, America first.”
This was in contrast to the sad silence of the White House, as they had been invited to compete for Biden for more than two weeks. Trump rejected questions from reporters and his public schedule was largely empty.
After his remarks, Trump hovered with Corn’s hand and pardoned the birds. Another turkey, Cob, was called a secondary bird this year, but was not noticed at the White House ceremony.
“We hope – and we know this will happen – that Corn and Cob will live very long, happy and memorable lives,” Trump said.
Turkeys pardoned in the White House are bred for slaughter and are often too unhealthy to support longevity. Most die a few months after receiving grace.