Washington, D.C. – Every year around Thanksgiving, the President of the United States pardons a turkey, sparing it from being killed, roasted and served on the holiday dinner table. The White House tradition was instituted by then President George H.W. Bush in 1989, although many believe Harry Truman was technically the first president to pardon a turkey.
Now, President Barack Obama has started a new White House tradition which he is calling the Presidential Easter Pardon, in celebration of the Easter holiday. Obama said this involves granting presidential pardon to a worthy individual who has committed non-violent misdemeanors or small infractions of U.S. law.
On Easter Sunday, Obama will grant the first-ever Presidential Easter Pardon to Canadian citizen and teen idol Justin Bieber. Bieber has repeatedly been charged with misdemeanors and violations including driving under the influence (DUI), resisting arrest and drag racing. The presidential pardon all but erases all obstacles to Bieber in applying for U.S. citizenship.
Many Americans have expressed outrage over Obama’s choice for the pardon. It comes on the heels of a recent petition on Whitehouse.gov asking Obama to deport Bieber for his arrogance and disrespect for the law. The petition drew more than 250,000 signatures, way above the threshold that the White House has set in order to merit a response. The White House did respond to the petition with “no comment.”
Bieber will receive the pardon medal from President Obama at ceremonies in the White House South Lawn on Easter Sunday.