Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Betty Vanderwielen

Turkey - To eat or to pardon?


November 26, 2020

White House

One of the turkeys, Butter or Bread, tests out the bed at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington D.C. after being pardoned in 2019.

United States Presidents receive numerous gifts during their time at the White House, including live animals. John Quincy Adams received an alligator; Richard Nixon, two giant pandas; Theodore Roosevelt a zebra and a lion; George H. W. Bush a Komodo dragon and Ronald Reagan a white horse. On a more mundane level, turkeys are popular gifts, especially during holidays.

Originally, presidential gifted turkeys were intended, and accepted, as the showpiece main dish for a holiday meal. That is, until young Tad Lincoln made a pet out of the one intended for Christmas dinner. Tad named his pet Jac...

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