Corn and Cob, turkeys up for presidential pardon, make their DC debut

Iowa turkeys Corn and Cob, the lucky birds who will appear at the White House’s annual turkey pardoning this year, made their public debut at a Monday news conference at the Willard InterContinental hotel in Washington.

Staying at the hotel ahead of the presidential pardoning ceremony has become a running tradition for the fortunate fowl.

“Welcoming these two VIT — very important turkeys — has been a highlight that we look forward to each and every year,” said Willard InterContinental senior marketing manager Janet Scanlon. “I think it really kicks off the holiday season.”

The chairman of the National Turkey Federation also expressed his excitement over the introduction of the birds. 

“I think it’s great to celebrate something that’s happy and something that is for everybody,” said Kardel as the birds gobbled around in front of him. “For me, it’s for all of America.”

The White House shared a video of the two birds strutting down a red carpet and appearing to revel in the attention from observers as they made their way to the hotel’s entrance. 

The public can vote on the White House’s website on whether Corn or Cob will be named the official National Thanksgiving Turkey. The winner will receive a turkey pardon from the commander in chief at the Rose Garden on Tuesday, though both turkeys will make their way back to Iowa where they will spend the rest of their days in the care of Iowa State University’s Animal Science department.

The White House turkey pardon is said to date back to the Abraham Lincoln presidency.

There had been some speculation as to whether this year’s pardon would go forward amid the coronavirus pandemic, but White House officials confirmed to The Hill last week that the turkey pardon will be held, albeit with a smaller in-person audience and with social distancing measures in place.

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