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President Trump Pardons 2 Thanksgiving Turkeys

President Trump pardons Peas the turkey on Tuesday at the White House.
Carolyn Kaster
President Trump pardons Peas the turkey on Tuesday at the White House.

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Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET

President Trump and televised spectacle go together like peas and carrots. And those just happen to be the names of the unflappable turkeys that Trump pardoned — on camera — Tuesday afternoon.

The two hefty toms (Peas weighs 39 pounds and Carrots 41) arrived in Washington, D.C., on Sunday from South Dakota, where they were raised. After a luxurious but possibly confusing two-night stay in the Willard Hotel, they crossed the street to the White House for the pardon ceremony.

It's one of the more surreal annual events on the presidential calendar and a marketing bonanza for the .

While Trump delights in upending some White House traditions, he has gobbled this one up gamely, ignoring W.C. Fields' sage advice about the perils of working with animals. (Speaking of sage advice, go easy on the sage in your Thanksgiving stuffing.)

"That turkey is so lucky," Trump said upon pardoning Peas. "I've never seen such a beautiful turkey."

The Turkey Federation always brings two birds to the pardon, just in case one gets its feathers too ruffled to participate. Peas edged out Carrots for top billing at the ceremony in what Trump described as a "fair and open election" on the White House website.

"Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount," the president joked.

Both birds will be spared from a spot on the Thanksgiving dinner table. They'll retire to Gobblers Rest at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.

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Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.