His attempt to reverse electoral defeat having proved a turkey, on Tuesday afternoon at the White House, Donald Trump will pardon one.
The president and first lady Melania Trump will pardon one of two birds, Corn or Cob, at the traditional ceremony.
It will be Trump’s first public appearance since the General Services Administration said on Monday it would finally release funding to Joe Biden’s transition team. The Democrat, who beat Trump by 6m ballots and 306-232 in the electoral college, can now properly plan to assume office on 20 January.
According to tradition, Corn and Cob have been staying at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. Only one will appear at the White House, decided by an online poll.
On Monday, the world was quick to notice that at the turkey pardon in 2018, Trump made remarks which now sound decidedly familiar.
“This was a fair election,” he said, shortly after seeing his Republican party lose the US House in midterm elections before and after which he made baseless claims about mass voter fraud. “Unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount, and we’re still fighting with Carrots.”
To laughter, Trump said: “We’ve come to a conclusion. Carrots, I’m sorry to tell you, the result did not change. It’s too bad for Carrots.”
Trump has not come to his own conclusion about his defeat by Biden, refusing to concede and saying on Monday that though the GSA transition process would begin, “we will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail”.
Trump has lost 35 of 36 election-related lawsuits. But he still has 57 days left in office, in which he may choose to use his pardon powder for more controversial recipients than Corn or Cob. Former campaign aides Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and George Papadopolous are among those eagerly awaiting such news.
Under a tradition generally held to have begun in 1947, the pardoned turkeys will be sent straight into retirement. Recently, such birds have lived out their days at Gobbler’s Rest, an enclosure at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, in Blacksburg.
Trump’s post-White House plans, including whether he will attend Biden’s inauguration, remain unclear. On Monday, reports said US Secret Service agents were being asked if they wanted to transfer to Palm Beach, Florida.