Barack Obama presided over his last traditional turkey pardoning ceremony as US President, although he plans to continue the ceremony privately after his term ends in January.
Obama officially spared the lives of 40-pound turkey “Tater” and backup turkey “Tot” in the White House Rose Garden; Tater and Tot will be on display for visitors at their new home “Gobbler’s Rest” in Virginia.
Obama was accompanied by his nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson rather than his daughters Malia and Sasha, who usually attend the ceremony.
“Malia and Sasha, by the way, are thankful that this is my final presidential turkey pardon. What I haven’t told them yet is that we are going to do this every year from now on. No cameras. Just us. Every year. No way I’m cutting this habit cold turkey,” said Obama.
The President continued his tradition of filling the event with Thanksgiving-related puns, this year’s selection including the phrase “Yes, we cran,” but also took the opportunity to address the nation on a more serious note.
“On this Thanksgiving, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the American people for the trust that you’ve placed in me over these last eight years and the incredible kindness that you’ve shown my family. On behalf of Michelle, and my mother-in-law, and our girls, we want to thank you so very, very much.”