Trump pardons Peas and Carrots, turkeys from a Hutterite colony in S.D. | TSLN.com

Trump pardons Peas and Carrots, turkeys from a Hutterite colony in S.D.

In a ceremony that has its origins in 1947 when President Harry Truman accepted the National Thanksgiving Turkey from the National Turkey Federation, President Donald Trump today accepted two turkeys – named Peas and Carrots – and "pardoned" them so they will not be slaughtered for anyone's Thanksgiving dinner.

After the president and First Lady Melania Trump entered the Rose Garden, Trump introduced Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., who is also the governor-elect of the state, and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.

Signaling that Peas will be the official turkey and Carrots the alternate, Trump said, "Today's lucky bird and guest of honor is named Peas. Along with his alternate named Carrots. The winner of this vote was decided by a fair and open election conducted on the White House website. This was a fair election. Unfortunately Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount and we're still fighting with Carrots. … Carrots, I'm sorry to tell you, the results did not change. That's too bad for Carrots."

Trump also said, "I have warned them that House Democrats are likely to issue them both subpoenas. Nevertheless … I will be issuing both Peas and Carrots presidential pardon. Unfortunately, I can't guarantee that your pardons won't be enjoined by the Ninth Circuit. Always happens."

"They are extremely lucky birds," he said later.

Trump also issued a proclamation naming Thursday the federal Thanksgiving holiday. The Trump family has left for Palm Beach, Fla., to spend Thanksgiving at their Mar-a-Lago resort.

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This year's turkeys – there are always an official turkey and an alternate – come from South Dakota, where they were raised by Ruben Waldner in a Hutterite religious colony near Huron.

In the early 2000s, several Hutterite colonies worked together to establish the first turkey processing plant in South Dakota, the National Turkey Federation noted when the organization unveiled the turkeys at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel on Monday.

South Dakota raises nearly 5 million turkeys each year. Peas and Carrots are the first South Dakota turkeys to be presented to a president.

National Turkey Federation President Jeff Sveen, with Waldner at his side, explained that the turkeys had been born in late June and were members of a flock of 50 that prepared for the White House event by being acclimated to the sounds of a crowd and bright camera lights. They were also prepared for their visit by interacting with children and families and stops around the Huron community.

Following the presentation, the two turkeys will reside at Gobbler's Rest on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blackburg, Va., where they will be under the care of Virginia Tech's Animal and Poultry Sciences Department.

As long as they live, Peas and Carrots will be available for the public to visit and learn about the university's teaching, research and outreach programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine.

Most previous pardoned turkeys have lived only a few months. They are bred to be eaten and do not have long lives.

National Turkey Federation Chairman Jeff Sveen, right, speaks to the media. At left is Ruben Waldner, who raised Peas and Carrots.

–The Hagstrom Report