Informal Exchange With Reporters

 

November 23, 1987

 

Thanksgiving Turkey

 

Q. What's going to happen to that turkey?

 

Ms. Range. He's going to a pet farm.

 

Q. Mr. President, are you going to pardon North and --  -- 

 

The President. So, you can say happy Thanksgiving right in front of him, and it doesn't matter. [Laughter]

 

Iran Arms and Contra Aid Controversy

 

Q. Are you going to pardon North and Poindexter, sir?

 

The President. What?

 

Q. Are you going to pardon North and Poindexter?

 

The President. Sam [Sam Donaldson, ABC News], that's a question no one can answer at this point, and I'm not going to try.

 

Q. You can.

 

Q. You can, sir.

 

Q. You can. Isn't it up to you?

 

The President. No. No, I can't.

 

Q. What has to happen, Mr. President?

 

The President. If they'd given me a different answer on Charlie and his future, I would have pardoned him. [Laughter]

 

Q. Do you intend to pardon them on Thanksgiving Day, Mr. President? Mr. President, do you intend to pardon them on Thanksgiving Day?

 

Q. North and Poindexter?

 

The President. There is no answer to that, and I'm not answering that at all. And no one can at this time.

 

Cuban Prisoner Riots

 

Q. Mr. President, are you monitoring the situation with the Cuban prisoners who are rioting, and are you going to do anything about that?

 

The President. The Attorney General is on that and taking care of that and has proposals to make to them. There are some suggestions and things that can be done.

 

Q. How old is this turkey?

 

Q. Are you willing to promise them they won't be sent back to Cuba, sir?

 

Q. How old is this turkey?

 

The President. I'm waiting for the Attorney General to go down and make his proposals to them.

 

Soviet-U.S. Summit Meeting

 

Q. What did you mean, sir, when you said that you would be meeting with General Secretary Gorbachev unless something unforeseen happened? Are you expecting something to happen?

 

The President. That's just being cagey. [Laughter]

 

Q. Cagey or KGB?

 

The President. Listen, I have to go back --  -- 

 

Q. Stroke the turkey one more time.

 

Q. Mr. President, can we see you with the turkey again?

 

Q. Just give it a parting stroke, sir. That's it.

 

Q. Atta boy!

 

Cuban Prisoner Riots

 

Q. Mr. President, on the Cubans -- do you think they've been treated fairly while they've been here?

 

The President. I have no information otherwise.

 

Note: The exchange began at 2:06 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. The President was given a Thanksgiving turkey by Herman Mason, president of the National Turkey Federation. Rebecca Gernhardt Range was Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Liaison.