Trump makes jabs during turkey pardon ceremony

John T. Bennett
Cq-Roll Call
President Donald Trump with first lady Melania Trump, right, gives Peas the turkey an absolute pardon during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday. Holding the turkey is Jeff Sveen, chairman of the National Turkey Federation.

WASHINGTON — Peas, one of the South Dakota-bred turkeys that received a presidential pardon Tuesday, pleaded the Fifth. But President Donald Trump had a warning for the creature about House Democrats.

The white bird merely pranced around in the Rose Garden and let out nary a gobble as Trump warned him that he may be among the first target of several investigation-minded House committees next year.

“Even though Peas and Carrots have received a presidential pardon, I have warned them that House Democrats are likely to issue them both subpoenas,” the president quipped, also referring to

another turkey who escaped a Thanksgiving dinner table.

The incoming chairs of several House panels that will be under Democratic control come January — Judiciary,

Oversight and Government Reform, and Intelligence — have already made clear they intend to use their investigative powers to look into the Trump 2016 campaign and presidency, using their coming subpoena authorities to compel witnesses close to the president to testify about a range of issues.

Long gone are Barack Obama’s presidential dad jokes that drove his two daughters to sit out his last two turkey pardoning ceremonies, replaced by talk of investigations, subpoenas and federal court actions.

“Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that your pardons won’t be enjoined by the 9th Circuit,” Trump told Peas and Carrots. “Always happens.”

The 9th Circuit has shut down this president before, including on his “travel ban” that tried to block individuals from some Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

On purpose: While some might think the humorous event is not the place for such jokes, one GOP strategist said of Trump: “He does and says these controversial things on purpose. He knows

exactly what he’s doing. And in many ways, it does work for him.”

The president also jabbed several

Democratic Senate and gubernatorial candidates who demanded recounts

earlier this month during the midterms — but ultimately lost.

“The winner of this vote was decided by a fair and open election conducted on the White House website. This was a fair election. Unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount,” the invited guests laughed.

“We’re still fighting with Carrots … Carrots, I’m sorry to tell you the results did not change,” Trump said before, as his predecessors have in the annual event’s awkwardness, teasing a turkey. “That’s too bad for Carrots.”

At the conclusion of his remarks, Trump took the short walk to a table positioned near his podium and uttered these words with his right arm high in the air: “Peas, I hereby grant you a full pardon.”