The History of the Presidential Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon

President Donald Trump's first White House Turkey Pardon was in 2017 but the first-ever presidential turkey clemency was recorded 155 years ago in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln spared a turkey's life. In 1963, John F. Kennedy became the first president to use the word "pardon," but pardoning a turkey didn't become an official, annual event until around Ronald Reagan's time in office. Since then, pardoned turkeys have avoided the dinner plate and have been sent to special farms instead.