US-Russia tensions are high after President Obama used the traditional Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony to let Turkey off the hook for shooting down a Russian plane.
Using the now obligatory mix of mock seriousness and Dad jokes, Obama laid out his reasons for pardoning Turkey. “I think I am able to speak for the majority of citizens of this great nation when I say that the downing of a Russian aircraft by Turkey is not really a big deal,” he began. “In fact, I’d like to rename our alliance TOTUS – Turkey of the United States”.
He also referred to his daughters in the light-hearted speech. “Malia and Sasha said to me this morning, ‘Dad, why are your speeches always so long and slow?’ And I said, ‘On today of all days, there’s no need to be Russian'”.
The President decided not to use his line about turkeys and Russian war planes not being able to fly.
While Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed gratitude to Obama for his compassionate gesture, Russian President Vladimir Putin is “furious” according to one of his senior staff members.
There is speculation Putin will challenge Obama to a one-on-one game of ice hockey, a sport in which Putin is the Russian national team’s star player.