President Trump, first lady Melania Trump pardon Thanksgiving turkey in annual White House tradition

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The holiday season may be a bit quieter this year as many make changes to mitigate the risks of COVID-19, but Americans can still expect a time-honored White House tradition to be carried out.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump participated in the annual pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday afternoon.

This year’s turkeys, “Corn” and “Cob,” hail from Walcott, Iowa. In keeping with tradition, the guests of honor were welcomed to the nation’s capital with a world-class reception, including a red carpet and a stay at the Willard InterContinental Hotel.

Both turkeys will receive a pardon, but only one will be named this year’s National Thanksgiving Turkey and visit the White House. That honor went to “Corn” following a poll created by the Trump administration. After the ceremony, both turkeys will retire to their new home at Iowa State University.

According to the White House, turkeys have been sent as gifts to American presidents since the 1870s. But President George H. W. Bush was the first to formally grant the bird a presidential pardon.

The arrival of the White House Christmas Tree by horse-drawn carriage on Monday kicked off a host of holiday events in Washington.

The White House is still planning holiday parties despite warnings from U.S. public health experts for Americans to not gather with people from outside their households.

Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s spokeswoman and chief of staff, said decisions to attend the parties will be a “personal choice.”

“It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic décor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations,” Grisham said.

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