WASHINGTON: Today the President, Vice President, and First Lady – resplendent in a floral decorated swing coat – were on hand to introduce Conan, the Belgian Malinois that is credited with the ISIS leader Al Baghdadi kill. President Trump welcomed Conan, the canine military hero who was wounded in the successful special forces raid. Conan was awarded with a special medal and plaque recognizing his service.
“It was a flawless attack, al-Baghdadi’s gone, and we gave Conan a medal and a plaque. He’s a very, very special dog,” the president said at the White House about the Belgian Malinois.
“He’s an incredible dog. We’re very honored to have Conan here and to give Conan an award,” he said in the Rose Garden ceremony after meeting with Special Forces troops in the White House.
“He was badly hurt but he recovered very quickly. Conan is a tough cookie, nobody’s going to mess with Conan,” the president continued, alluding to the dog’s injuries when the ISIS leader detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.
The commander-in-chief then extolled Conan’s fighting abilities.
“This is the ultimate fighter, ultimate everything.” Trump praised the dog.
Trump said he asked Conan’s handlers
“What chance a person [would] have against Conan without the guns, I guess the answer was pretty much none. No chance, it was amazing.”
“We had a case [on the southern border] where we had drugs in a cylinder in a car. It was undetectable. The dog came in and jumped on the hood, pointing — wow! — incredible sense of smell,” said the president.
The President also exhibits his trademark sense of humor telling the assembled media that Conan will only attack if they open their mouths. Maybe he should adopt a well-trained military dog.
Pardoning the Presidential Turkeys – Bread and Butter
Tomorrow, the President and First Lady will pardon Bread and Butter, who will help keep the tradition. There are conflicting stories as to the first Turkey Pardons. One stating that it was started in 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. However, Truman is the first president to receive a turkey from the Poultry and Egg National Board and the National Turkey Federation.
It may be that it was President Abraham Lincoln who first offered clemency to the holiday staple in 1863. The event memorialized in an 1865 dispatch by White House reporter Noah Brooks. Brooks wrote:
“a live turkey had been brought home for the Christmas dinner, but [Lincoln’s son Tad] interceded in behalf of its life. . . . [Tad’s] plea was admitted and the turkey’s life spared.”
And a fun holiday tradition began. However, President Truman in 1947 is credited with receiving the turkey from the poultry industry, however, the annual turkey pardon has been a sporadic tradition. Some Presidential Turkey facts:
- In December 1948, Truman accepted two turkeys and remarked that they would “come in handy” for Christmas dinner. There was clearly no plan for these birds to receive a presidential pardon.
- The Washington Post used both “pardon” and “reprieve” in a 1963 article in which President Kennedy said of the turkey, “Let’s keep him going.”
- During the latter years of the Nixon presidency, Patricia Nixon accepted the turkeys on behalf of the President and in 1973 sent the bird to the Oxon Hill Children’s Farm.
- The 1978 turkey, presented to Rosalynn Carter, met a similar fate when it was sent to Evans Farm Inn to live in a mini zoo.
- After 1981 the practice of sending the presentation turkey to a farm became the norm under Ronald Reagan.
The turkey ceremony gives White House pool reporters a chance at levity in their otherwise serious duties.. The formalities of pardoning a turkey gelled by 1989, when George H. W. Bush, with animal rights activists picketing nearby, quipped,
“But let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table, not this guy — he’s granted a Presidential pardon as of right now — and allow him to live out his days on a children’s farm not far from here.”
According to the White House release regarding last years Turkey Pardon:
Peas and Carrots traveled to our Nation’s capital all the way from South Dakota! They were raised on a farm near Huron, S.D., under the supervision of National Turkey Federation Chairman Jeff Sveen and by turkey grower Ruben Waldner.
The Presidential Flock of 50 turkeys was hatched in July, and Peas and Carrots were selected to travel to Washington, D.C.
The “Presidential Flock” is raised much in the same way as turkeys marketed for U.S. customers—protected from weather extremes and predators in a barn, free to strut about with constant access to water and a feed mix of corn and soybeans.
The flock is prepared for potential stardom at the White House from an early age, with the birds becoming acclimated to the sounds of a crowd, bright camera lights, and having to stand comfortably on a table during the presentation. The turkeys will also prepare for their visit by interacting with children and families on stops around the Huron community.
Upon arrival in Washington, Peas and Carrots got some rest at The Willard Hotel, adjacent to the White House grounds, ahead of the pardoning ceremony.
After the pardoning, both Peas and Carrots will make the journey to their new home at Virginia Tech’s “Gobblers Rest” exhibit in Blacksburg, Virginia. At Gobblers Rest, students and veterinarians within Virginia Tech’s Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences care for the turkeys. The National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate are available for the public to visit and learn about the university’s teaching, research and outreach programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine.
Turkeys have been sent as gifts to American Presidents from as early as the 1870s, sometimes arriving in elaborate crates and costumes. By the 1920s, the influx of these turkeys had increased so greatly that President Calvin Coolidge discouraged Americans from sending them, reported a 1923 New York Times article. Eventually, however, the tradition resumed, and President Coolidge received not only turkeys, but quail, ducks, geese, rabbits, and a deer.
The most unusual gift was a raccoon, which was not served for dinner but became a Coolidge family pet.
You can watch the 2018 Presidential pardon ceremony and 2019 live stream of the Turkey Pardon on November 26,here:
The 2017 President Pardon Ceremony sent Turkeys Drumstick and Wishbone to Gobbler’s Rest: