Not even an event as benign as the annual presidential pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkeys can escape the ugliness and divisiveness that Donald Trump brings to everything he touches. The turkeys spared by presidential fiat today were named “Bread” and “Butter” but that’s where the charm ended. Rather than using the opportunity as a lighthearted way to unite the country going into the holiday, Trump engaged in some of his trademark partisan whining and attacks on the free press.
Curtis Houck, Managing Editor of the right-wing propaganda outlet NewsBusters, shared some of the footage on Twitter because apparently Republicans just can’t get enough of their crude party leader’s tasteless jabs.
Trump jumped quickly into weak impeachment jokes by saying that the two turkeys have been “specially raised” to “remain calm under any condition” which the president said is important because they’ve been subpoenaed to appear in “Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday.”
As usual, the president is misrepresenting the facts. The impeachment inquiry has moved into public hearings and Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has conducted himself with nothing but integrity and professionalism since the beginning of the proceedings. Trump drops little jabs like this constantly to muddy the waters because any clear-eyed view of what’s happening shows him to be unequivocally in the wrong and Democrats to be the ones standing up for our democracy.
“It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey,” Trump joked to a few polite laughs. Given the nature of the word, it’s difficult to discern if he was going for a double entendre and making light of the fact that Democrats have criticized him harshly for greenlighting a brutal Turkish invasion of Northeast Syria. If so, it would be completely in character and utterly heartless.
Trump then went on to lie more about his impeachment. He said that unlike previous “witnesses” he has actually met the birds “Bread” and “Butter.”
“It’s very unusual. Very unusual. In any event, I expect this pardon will be very popular with the media. After all, turkeys are closely related to vultures,” Trump said. “I don’t know if I like that line but there is a little truth to it,” he quickly added, as if he were reading it for the first time just then. The fact that we have grown used to these kinds of attacks on the press doesn’t change the fact that they are unacceptable and undemocratic.
Trump then pivoted to some milquetoast comments about the U.S. military.
While it may seem silly to care about moments like this, it serves as just yet another reminder of how deeply divided our nation has become and how the president, the man with the most power to heal that divide, is interested only in pushing us further apart to tighten his grasp on his base. One can’t help but yearn for the day when the Oval Office is occupied once again by someone who cares about all Americans and the ties that bind us together.
Video: Here's President Trump joking at the Turkey Pardoning that the turkeys "have been specially raised…to remain calm under any condition which will be very important b/c they have already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff's basement" like "hundreds" of others pic.twitter.com/JJI8GHavh4
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 26, 2019