During a televised ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, a visibly exasperated President Obama parted with decades of presidential tradition by refusing to pardon 2013’s Thanksgiving turkey. The Turkey Presentation ceremony, which dates back to the Truman administration, dictates that the president offer a “pardon” to a selected turkey in the lead up to the Thanksgiving holiday. The spared bird will then live out the rest of its life on the Mount Vernon estate in Virginia. Yet, as Obama claimed during a twenty minute unscripted address, “sometimes shit just doesn’t go your way.”
Throughout his remarks, the president rarely blinked or broke eye contact with the 3-year-old American Standard turkey, named Benjamin.
As the president explained to Benjamin, “you and I are not so different; we both came to this town with ambitious plans; I wanted to fix healthcare, close Guantánamo Bay, and enact gun control. You wanted to live. Well guess what, Ben, sometimes our best intentions are betrayed by the fucking system. And if I can’t have my way, neither should you.”
With that, the president set down his pen, pushed aside the mock pardon order, and proceeded to throttle the bird. When his daughters Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12, cried out in dismay and buried their faces in the First Lady’s dress, the president turned and yelled, “dammit, Michelle, let the girls watch! They need to learn! They need to watch death so they’ll realize how close we all are to the grave!”
Upon Benjamin’s death, the feather-and-blood-soaked president cracked a slight smile, dropped the bird to the ground, and lit a cigarette. He could be heard muttering “let the next guy clean this shit up” as he walked away.
Originally published Nov 2013