He kicked off celebrating a healthy stock market and lauded the country’s farmers, police and military. He also praised the enduring tradition of the turkey pardon, evoking its origins in the days of Abraham Lincoln. But the signs of an unusually troubled year were apparent.
Trump lauded the progress on coronavirus vaccines and thanked health care workers for their efforts in controlling the pandemic. And while the president and first lady didn’t wear masks, other attendees had their faces covered.
“From our earliest days, America has always been a story of perseverance and triumph, determination and strength, loyalty and faith,” Trump said. “This week in a time that is very unusual but in so many ways very, very good, what we’ve endured and been able to endure, with the vaccines now coming out, one after another, it’s an incredible thing that happened.”
Trump did not make any mention of the election or the previous night’s announcement that his administration would allow President-elect Joe Biden to proceed with the transition. But while acknowledging the armed services and law enforcement, Trump said “America first — shouldn’t go away from that, America first.”
It was a contrast from the somber quiet coming from the White House since the race was called for Biden over two weeks ago. Trump has refused to take questions from reporters and his public schedule has been largely empty.
After his remarks, Trump hovered his hand over Corn and pardoned the fowl. Another turkey, Cob, was dubbed the backup bird this year, but he was not spotted at the White House ceremony.
“We hope — and we know it’s going to happen — that Corn and Cob have a very long, happy and memorable life,” Trump said.
Turkeys pardoned at the White House are bred for slaughter and are often too unhealthy to support long lifespans. Most die a few months after getting pardoned.
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