Trump Once Joked at Turkey Pardon That One of the Birds 'Refused to Concede and Demanded a Recount'

Adam Carlson
·3 min read

Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty President Donald Trump (center) pardons Peas the turkey in the Rose Garden at the White House on Nov. 20, 2018.

Two years before President Donald Trump was himself complaining that the election was fraudulent and that he would not recognize his loss, he was in the opposite position — scolding a turkey (yes, a turkey).

It was during the annual turkey pardon in 2018 that Trump, 74, quipped about one of the birds' stubbornness to accept defeat, after the public voted for rival Peas.

“This was a fair election. Unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount, and we’re still fighting with Carrots,” he said then, according to USA Today. “I will tell you, we’ve come to a conclusion. Carrots, I’m sorry to tell you the result did not change.”

The silly moment got a second life on social media this week, with one video from the ceremony being seen more than a million times so far as many — many — users pointed out the parallels between what the president treated as a joke two years ago and what he is now attempting: to overturn the election based on allegations of fraud for which he has not provided any proof.

Shutterstock; Drew Angerer/Getty Images President Donald Trump (left) and President-elect Joe Biden

"I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go. This was a RIGGED ELECTION!" Trump tweeted last week.

In the weeks since he was defeated by Joe Biden, Trump and his allies have unsuccessfully challenged the vote counting in court and increasingly argued that, because of their allegations, certain Republican-controlled state legislatures should ignore the election results and pick Trump over Biden in the Electoral College.

"Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself," Trump tweeted on Saturday, with characteristic all-caps. "THE WORLD IS WATCHING!!!"

"There are about 74 million people out there who do not feel like the result of this election that has been presented is accurate," the president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, recently said on Fox News. (Nearly 80 million people, meanwhile, cast ballots for Biden; and polling suggests a majority of voters recognize he won.)

Biden, 78, called Trump's resistance "embarrassing" and has urged him to aid in the transition of power amid the novel coronavirus pandemic while the government prepares for the rollout of a vaccine — pending approval by regulators — following very promising initial results.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” the former vice president warned last Monday.

"And so it's important that it be done — that there be coordination now," Biden said then. "Now, or as rapidly as we can get that done."