At a traditionally lighthearted event in the White House Rose Garden, in which the sitting president rescues two turkeys from being cooked for a holiday meal, President Trump made an oddly sinister joke about killing the two turkeys former President Obama pardoned last year. But what struck some viewers as even more disturbing was that during Trump's presidential turkey pardon, he asked permission before touching the turkey — something that one Twitter user pointed out is completely at odds with Trump's now infamous Access Hollywood tapes in which he seemingly bragged about groping women without their consent.
"That's a big bird," Trump said to the ceremonial officiators as he marveled at the size of the turkey, named Drumstick. "Am I allowed to touch it?" Trump is then given permission before reaching out his hand and proudly placing it on the turkey's back.
As Jesse McLaren pointed out on Twitter, this tone is completely different from the tone Trump displayed in 2005 when he was caught on a hot microphone having a lewd conversation about women with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush. "I moved on her very heavily," Trump told Bush about a married woman he had tried to have sex with. "I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there."
He went on to say that he "just starts kissing" women without waiting for their consent because "when you're a star, they let you do it."
Other Twitter users were quick to point out what they perceived to be hypocrisy from the commander in chief, who has made a number of well-documented offensive comments about women in the past.
"President Trump asked permission to touch the turkey he was about to pardon, thus betraying that he has some basic concept of consent," one user wrote.
"Trump has officially gotten more consent from a dead turkey than from any of the live women he sexually harassed," David Roberts, a blogger for Vox, chimed in.
After the tapes were made public in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Trump vigorously denied ever having assaulted any women in the past, and described his remarks as lighthearted "locker room banter."
“This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago," Trump said in a statement. "Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
The turkey pardoning ceremony is traditionally a jovial, decidedly non-political event. But many Twitter users pointed out that for a president as divisive as President Trump, that was certainly not the case this year.
"Gotta say these traditions -- the turkey pardon, and other cutesy things presidents do -- are lost to the ether for me when Trump performs them," MSNBC's Joy Reid wrote on Twitter. "The legal, ethical and moral clouds over his presidency are like a film on the camera lens."
Another user pointed out that it is "wild watching a president pardon a turkey while kicking thousands of Haitians out of the country for no reason." The tweet references one of Trump's latest controversial policies that will end residential protection for tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants who came to America in 2010 after an earthquake ravaged their home country.
All-in-all, Tuesday was a pretty great day for Drumstick the officially pardoned turkey. But for Trump, however, the event did little to enhance his public image, especially since many have made it clear that his most recent comments prove that he does indeed know the meaning and value of consent — at least when it comes to turkeys.