The Willard InterContinental Hotel has seen a number of important guests in its 164-year history. Charles Dickens. Martin Luther King, Jr. Almost every American president. And this week, two oversized white broad-breasted turkeys.
The turkeys stay at the swanky Washington hotel for the White House’s annual presidential turkey pardon, which spares two birds—the National Thanksgiving Turkey and an alternate—from becoming dinner. The White House has named last year’s birds Mac and Cheese, and President Obama pardoned both for crimes they had not committed.
National Journal visited last year’s pair in their room at the Willard—yes, they had their own room—before the big ceremony. The luxurious third-floor room, which costs upwards of $350 a night, looked as it would to any other guest. There was a widescreen TV, a mini fridge, views of downtown Washington. And then there was the small entryway covered in a thick layer of wood shavings.