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A Brief History Of Presidents Pardoning Turkeys

Presidents haven't been giving turkeys a pass for as long as you might think.

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The White House has been holding holiday ceremonies with turkeys since the 1940s under President Harry Truman. But Truman did NOT pardon this turkey — in fact, that turkey was more than likely destined for his kitchen table.


Bill Clinton continued the tradition, sending a turkey to a farm. Clinton said at one pardoning, "We can all be grateful, therefore, that there will be one less turkey in Washington, D.C."

"There are certain days that remind me of why I ran for this office," Obama said at his first turkey pardon in 2009. "And then there are moments like this — where I pardon a turkey and send it to Disneyland."

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at

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