Today we endured yet again the annual tradition of forcing the President of the United States to walk out in front of the press, give a silly speech and offer a fake pardon to a pair of birds better suited for a guest spot at his dinner table. There were the usual jokes, as well as at least one rather unusual one, and the chance for a group of people to get some face time on national television. (NBC News)
President Donald Trump on Tuesday joined the ranks of presidents to pardon turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving, granting Drumstick and Wishbone the turkey mercy in the Rose Garden.
Joined by first lady Melania Trump and son Barron, Trump said he was “pleased to report that unlike millions of other turkeys at this time of year, Drumstick has a very bright future ahead of him.” The president, saying “Hi, Drumstick,” predicted the turkey “is going to be very happy.”
Both Drumstick and his friend Wishbone will live out their years at Virginia Tech’s “Gobbler’s Rest” enclosure, where last year’s pardoned turkeys — Tater and Tot — currently reside after then-President Barack Obama kept them off the carving board.
Trump noted that he’s been “very active in overturning” executive actions taken by his predecessor — but not this time.
“I have been informed by the White House counsel’s office that Tater and Tot’s pardons cannot, under any circumstances, be revoked,” Trump joked. “So, Tater and Tot, you can rest easy.”
Ha ha. Ho ho. It was amusing enough and I’m not trying to rain on the parade of anyone who finds such things charming. But it should be impossible to position the words “pardon” and “Turkey” in the same sentence without thinking of another, far less humorous situation.
In the nation of Turkey (as opposed to the bird), there is someone in desperate need of a pardon and very deserving of one, though President Trump isn’t the one able to grant it. His name is Pastor Andrew Brunson. As of this Thanksgiving, he will have spent more than a year locked up in one of the dungeons of the Tyrant of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There has been zero evidence presented that Pastor Brunson has done anything remotely related to the crimes he’s been accused of following last summer’s coup in that country. Erdogan himself has as much as admitted in public that he’s holding the Pastor hostage as leverage to extract Cleric Fethullah Gulen from his exile in Pennsylvania.
The man’s daughter and her husband (via civil ceremony) have postponed their wedding because she is waiting and praying for the chance to have her father walk her down the aisle on her special day.
“My husband and I decided to have a civil ceremony and to postpone our wedding until my father is home. I’m still waiting for my wedding. I’m still waiting to wear that wedding dress that I got almost a year and a half ago,” Furnari said, according to CBN News.
“I’m still waiting for my dad to walk me down the aisle, and I’m still waiting for that father-daughter dance,” she went on to say.
The members of the Brunson family have significantly less to be thankful for this holiday season than most families. They wait each day for news, hoping for the best, but dreading the worst. President Trump has claimed on multiple occasions that he has a very good relationship with Erdogan. Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple of days and Christmas is right around the corner.
This family deserves to be reunited. It’s a travesty that Pastor Brunson remains in one of Erdogan’s dungeons after all this time. We are the most powerful nation in the world and Turkey is a country still seeking membership in the EU, counting itself as a partner in NATO. This situation is intolerable.
President Trump needs to pick up the phone and make this happen. It should have been done long before now, but with the holidays upon us, what better time to demonstrate some skillful diplomacy and compassion for an American being unjustly held hostage by a foreign power? Bring the Brunson family a happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas, Mr. President.