President Donald Trump wished Americans a ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ while making a veiled swipe at his former Defense Secretary James Mattis at the annual turkey pardoning ceremony on Tuesday.
‘We send our love to every member of the armed forces and the law enforcement heroes risking their lives to keep America safe, to keep America great – and as I say America First, we shouldn’t go away from that, America First,’ Trump told a crowd of about 100 in the White House Rose Garden.
This time around, most of attendees were wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. First lady Melania Trump stood next to her husband, while Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and their three children – Arabella, Joseph and Theodore – were in attendance.
Earlier in the morning, Trump had lashed out at Mattis for saying that the incoming Biden-Harris administration should do away with Trump’s ‘America First’ policies.
The lame duck president didn’t bring up the election – nor did he concede – but he did pardon a ‘lucky bird’ named Corn.
President Donald Trump pardons Corn, a turkey from Iowa, Tuesday in the White House Rose Garden
President Donald Trump (left) and first lady Melania Trump (right) appeared Tuesday at their final turkey pardoning where Trump made a veiled swipe at his former Defense Secretary James Mattis and pardoned an Iowa turkey named Corn
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner sat front row with Theodore and Joseph. The entire family sported masks to the Rose Garden event
Arabela Kushner (left) and her brother Theodore Kushner (right) play with Corn as they await their grandfather’s remarks
Earlier, President Donald Trump lashed out at his former Defense Secretary James Mattis who recommended to President-elect Joe Biden that ‘America First’ be scrapped
Arabella Kushner gives a pat to Corn, the final turkey that President Donald Trump pardoned in his four years in office
Arabella Kushner is seen giving Corn a pat after the Broad-Breasted White turkey is pardoned by President Donald Trump
Corn the turkey (left) is photographed alongside President Donald Trump (center) and first lady Melania Trump (right)
President Donald Trump (left) holds first lady Melania Trump’s (right) hand as the couple enters the Rose Garden for their final turkey pardon as president and first lady
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump presented a united front as they entered their final turkey pardon at the White House on Tuesday
Theodore, Arabella and Joseph Kushner walk into the White House turkey pardon with their parents Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner
Theodore Kushner is spotted playing with Corn the turkey Tuesday during President Donald Trump’s final turkey pardoning in the White House Rose Garden
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk over to officially pardon Corn the turkey
National Turkey Federation Chairman Ron Kardel is spotted walking Corn the turkey toward the pardoning table Tuesday in the White House Rose Garden
‘Corn I hereby grant you a full pardon, thank you Corn,’ Trump said, waving his hand over the Broad-Breasted White turkey from Iowa, a state that the president said he liked because it voted for him twice.
‘I knew I liked you,’ Trump was heard saying to National Turkey Federation Chairman Ron Kardel, an Iowa farmer who raised the presidential flock of turkeys this year.
Corn’s understudy Cob will also survive the Thanksgiving table.
‘Thanksgiving is a very special day for turkeys. Not a very good one, when you think about it,’ the president had noted.
He said that it was an ‘act of blatant pandering’ that the birds named themselves after Iowa’s favorite crop.
The duo’s names were unveiled Monday at the glitzy Willard InterContinental Hotel, where the birds stay during their trip to Washington, D.C.
The president peppered his remarks with points he had made earlier Tuesday in his brief appearance at the White House podium – touting the stock market high and coronavirus vaccines that will soon be made available.
‘It’s just such a tremendous feeling,’ the president said.
He also thanked first responders and doctors and nurses.
‘Once again Melania and I wish to thank everybody for your incredible courtesies and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving,’ the president said.
Corn (left) and Cob (right) arrived in Washington, D.C. Monday ahead of President Donald Trump’s final turkey pardon later this week. They’re staying in the glitzy Willard InterContinental Hotel prior to the pardoning
Corn and Cob take in one of the suites at the Willard InterContinental Hotel on Monday, as they arrrive from Iowa ahead of the annual White House turkey pardon
Corn and Cob fluff out their feathers at their hotel room in the Willard InterContinental Hotel before heading to the White House for the annual turkey pardoning
Journalists capture Corn and Cobb during a press conference introducing the pair’s names at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in downtown Washington on Monday
Corn is a pound fatter than Cob and is chatty, likes sweet corn, college football, high jumping and wants to take a trip to the Iowa State Fair, the White House’s website said
Cob wants to bike across Iowa and also visits D.C. monuments. The bird likes boybeans, pickleball, puzzles and has a ‘Type A’ personality, according to the White House
Corn and Cob got their debut Monday morning at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, which is where the birds traditionally stay
2017: At Trump’s (left) first turkey pardon, for a turkey named Drumstick (center bottom), he was joined by Barron Trump (center top) and first lady Melania Trump (right)
2018: (From left) Joseph Kushner, Arabella Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Theodore Kushner look at Peas the turkey at the 2018 White House turkey pardoning
2019: Trump (right) is photographed last year with the turkey he pardoned, Butter (left). Butter is still alive and living at a Virginia Tech facility
Americans could go online and choose which turkey, Corn or Cob, would appear alongside Trump at the ceremony.
Both turkeys were born on July 2 of this year, but Corn is a shade thicker, at 42 pounds versus Cob’s 41 pounds.
Corn’s favorite snack is sweet corn, while Cob likes soy beans.
Corn is more chatty, while Cob is ‘Type A.’
Corn is a college football fan, while Cob likes pickleball.
Corn wants to visit the Iowa State Fair, while Cob is more interested in the D.C. monuments, according to the White House’s website.
Both the main bird and its understudy survive the Thanksgiving table.
The National Turkey Federation told DailyMail.com that the two turkeys will reside at Iowa State University after they’re pardoned.
It’s tradition that two turkeys are sent from a farm to Washington, D.C.
The birds were raised by Kardel on a farm near Walcott, Iowa.
Kardel is a sixth-generation Iowa farmer and appeared alongside the birds in Washington Monday.
The past several sets of turkeys have lived out their – generally short – lives at Gobblers Rest, a facility at Virginia Tech.
A Virginia Tech spokesperson told DailyMail.com that Trump’s turkeys from 2019 and 2018 – Bread, Butter, Peas and Carrots are still alive.
The Trumps plan to stay in Washington for Thanksgiving, the first lady’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham tweeted earlier this month.
The first family generally spends Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s at Mar-a-Lago, the Trumps’ Palm Beach, Florida resort.
While coronavirus cases are spiking across the U.S., forcing Biden to modify his Thanksgiving plans, COVID-19 has never prevented the president from traveling.
He held rally after rally in the run-up to the November 3 election.
He’s not leaving the White House because, as one aide told CNN, there’s a ‘bunker mentality’ happening, as Trump pursues legal avenues to overturn the results.
In the lead-up to the pardon, Trump spent 56 seconds addressing the press in the White House briefing room, noting how the stock market had ‘broken 30,000.’
‘That’s a sacred number, 30,000. Nobody thought they’d ever see it,’ the president said.
Trump credited good news on the coronavirus vaccine front for the stock market boost.
But on Wall Street, it was also interpreted as a ‘Biden bounce,’ with the president-elect’s transition fully underway after the GSA administrator green-lit the process Monday night.
It marked the president’s fourth public appearance since the presidential election was called for Biden.
Directly afterward in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden stood onstage at the Queen theater and introduced his national security team.
Neither Trump nor Biden answered questions from reporters.
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign sent out a tweet calling out ABC News’ Jonathan Karl for taking off his mask in the briefing room – likely to do a TV live hit – writing, ‘Cameras off = masks off?’
Also, Trump campaign lawyer Jenna mocked Biden – who had the election result in Pennsylvania certified in his favor earlier – for making cabinet announcements.
‘All this media chatter of Joe Biden picking his cabinet is like fantasy football. Meaningless in the real game,’ she wrote.