In his second video this week, President-elect Donald Trump pleaded for unity while acknowledging the bitter rhetoric that was used during the months of the presidential campaign. In his Thanksgiving message, Trump called on Americans to see past the divisions over the various presidential contenders while his administration seeks to hold the reins of power. “This historic political campaign is now over,” Trump said. “But now begins a great national campaign to rebuild our country and to restore the full promise of America for all of our people.”
The call for unity was clear in his message. “I am asking you to join me in this effort,” Trump said. “It is time to restore the bonds of trust between citizens. Because when America is unified, there is nothing beyond our reach, and I mean absolutely nothing.”
Trump has not held a press conference since the election but has given interviews to "60 Minutes." He also had a group interview with reporters, editors and columnists from the New York Times.
In contrast, President Barack Obama turned the annual pardoning of turkeys into a much more partisan affair while lauding the accomplishments of his administration. POLITICO offered an article that said "President Barack Obama seemed to take a veiled shot at President-elect Donald Trump and his alt-right supporters Wednesday at the annual White House turkey pardoning, telling attendees in the Rose Garden to remember that diversity is one of the America’s greatest strengths."
Obama said in the presence of turkeys Tater and Tot, and invited guests, “Thanksgiving is also a reminder of the source of our national strength, that out of many we are one, and we’re not bound by any one race or religion but rather by an adherence to a common creed that all of us are created equal.” Obama continued in his lecture on American values, saying “And while accepting our differences and building a diverse society has never been easy, it has never been more important. We are people that look out for one another and get each other’s backs. We keep moving forward defined by values and ideals that have been a light to all humanity.”
Michelle Obama was not present for the pardoning, nor were daughters Sasha and Malia. In their stead, the president introduced Austin Robinson and Aaron Robinson — filled in for the first daughters. “Thanksgiving is a family holiday as much as a national one, so for the past seven years, I’ve established another tradition — embarrassing my daughters with a corny-copia of dad jokes about turkeys,” Obama said. “This year, they had a scheduling conflict. Actually they just couldn’t take my jokes anymore. They were fed up.”
Obama also listed a number of issues Americans should thank his administration for. “Our uninsured rate is an all-time low thanks to the 20 million more Americans, including millions of children, who finally know the security of health insurance,” he said. “That’s worth gobbling about.” Obama also boasted of six years of job creation and said it was the “the longest streak ever.” He claimed rising wages and falling unemployment rates, a record number of high school graduations, and even the post-election stock market tripling that has been attributed Trump's victory. He also cited “marriage equality” as being the law of the land as another reason why Americans should be thankful.
Obama let two turkeys, Tater and Tot off the hook. They will instead live out their days at “Gobbler’s Rest" at Virginia Tech University.
Here follows a transcript of Trump's remarks:
“We are very blessed to call this nation our home. And that is what America is: it is our home. It’s where we raise our families, care for our loved ones, look out for our neighbors, and live out our dreams.
“It is my prayer, that on this Thanksgiving, we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country, strengthened by a shared purpose and very, very common resolve.
“In declaring this national holiday, President Lincoln called upon Americans to speak with ‘one voice and one heart.’ That’s just what we have to do.
“We have just finished a long and bruising political campaign. Emotions are raw and tensions just don’t heal overnight. It doesn’t go quickly, unfortunately, but we have before us the chance now to make history together to bring real change to Washington, real safety to our cities, and real prosperity to our communities, including our inner cities. So important to me, and so important to our country. But to succeed, we must enlist the effort of our entire nation.
“This historic political campaign is now over. But now begins a great national campaign to rebuild our country and to restore the full promise of America for all of our people.
“I am asking you to join me in this effort. It is time to restore the bonds of trust between citizens. Because when America is unified, there is nothing beyond our reach, and I mean absolutely nothing.
“Let us give thanks for all that we have, and let us boldly face the exciting new frontiers that lie ahead.