Turkeys pardoned by president live in luxury on Va. estate

We saw President Trump pardon this year's turkeys in the Rose Garden. So what happens to them now?

LEESBURG, VA (WUSA9) - The turkey trio has only known a life of luxury. One rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange. Two came closer to the president than most Americans ever will. All live at the home of a former governor, nestled within the rolling hills of the republic.

The birds were spared by President Obama in 2015, an annual turkey tradition first instituted by President George H.W. Bush in 1989. Obama pardoned “Abe” the turkey, but in truth, he ended up sparing three.

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Why? Well, it was part insurance, and part, why not?

“There was a second turkey as backup, in case something happened to Abe on the way to the Rose Garden,” said Jackie Wright Ly, a spokesperson for the Leesburg estate, Morven Park. “The backup turkey was ‘Honest.’ So there was Honest, Abe, and George, the turkeys.”

Their home of Morven Park boasts a mansion that could be mistaken for the Versailles of Virginia.

The estate was once the residence of Westmoreland Davis, governor of Virginia from 1918 to 1922.

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George is the easiest to recognize, with a club foot setting himself apart from the nearly identical white birds. George came into the picture when the New York Stock Exchange wanted a bird by the bell, ringing in the last trading day before Thanksgiving.

Honest, Abe, and George were all part of the same flock, all spared a trip to the dinner table.

“Abe is the dominant turkey, with the most assertive behavior,” Wright Ly said. “They live a pretty relaxed life, entertaining visitors to Morven Park, which include local school children and families.”

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The birds are the oldest turkeys pardoned by the president. 

Wishbone and Drumstick, the turkeys pardoned by President Donald Trump Tuesday are en route to a Virginia Tech farm in Blacksburg. They will join Tater and Tot, the turkeys pardoned by President Obama in 2016.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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