For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a time for family, traveling, treats, and (perhaps most notably), turkey. However, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some of these long-standing traditions may have to be placed on temporary hold — including the annual White House practice of presidential turkey pardoning before Thanksgiving Day. So, will Trump pardon a turkey in 2020? Despite the state of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the president has decided that saving this one lucky bird is a top priority.
While details aren't publicly available yet, this event is expected to take place on Nov. 24 at the White House, per CNN. Traditionally, this public event is carried out in front of an audience, often including the first family and other friends and staff. However, this kind of large group gathering is considered risky in 2020, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As of Nov. 19, an estimated 250,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, even as the world looks down the road at what is likely to be a second wave of infection during the Northern Hemisphere's winter months.
While outdoor events, where air can circulate freely, are presumed to be safer than indoor events, large group gatherings are still risky. Back in September, the White House held Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination ceremony in the Rose Garden with a crowd of maskless attendees. When many people present later tested positive for coronavirus, the event was singled out as the potential "superspreader" source of infection. For the turkey pardon, the White House will have to take extra precautions to ensure health and safety guidelines are properly followed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this means maintaining a distance of six feet at all times, in addition to wearing a mask. The White House did not reply to Elite Daily's request for comment on the potential event and what plans may be in place.
The pardoning ceremony on Tuesday will also be one of Trump's first public appearances since his hasty. post-Election Day press briefing on Nov. 5, where he claimed without evidence that Democrats were trying to steal the election from him. According to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in any state.
Since the 2020 presidential race was called for Biden, Trump has largely spent his days hidden away from the public eye, posting baseless claims of election fraud via Twitter, rather than leading the country through the ongoing pandemic, or working with the Biden transition team to prepare for the incoming administration. Rather, the president has focused his attention on firing top election security officials, like Chris Krebs, the director of Cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, who had contradicted the president's false claims about the election.
In a Nov. 12 joint-statement from Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (EIGCC) and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees (EISCEC), Krebs wrote that "the November 3rd election was the most secure in American history . . . There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."
As a direct result of this statement, Trump announced via Twitter that he was firing Krebs, stating "effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency."
With so many of Trump's officials on the chopping block near the end of his administration, it seems like a good time to be a turkey at the White House.