Biden pardons two turkeys in Thanksgiving tradition

President Biden pardoned two turkeys at the White House Monday, continuing a presidential tradition of letting some birds off the hook for Thanksgiving.

The National Turkey Federation has donated turkeys to the President before Thanksgiving since 1947 under President Harry Truman. It is believed that President John F. Kennedy was the first president to spare the turkey, and President George HW Bush was the first to formalize the “pardon” tradition.

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Biden last year pardoned turkeys named “Peanut Butter” and “Jelly” from Indiana. This year’s Chocolate and Chip turkeys, which the President described as his favorite flavor of ice cream, are from North Carolina.

President Biden will pardon two Thanksgiving turkeys Monday.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Biden will pardon two Thanksgiving turkeys Monday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Biden made remarks at the White House event, which he would keep brief because “nobody likes their turkey to get cold.”

The president also joked that the only red wave this year will be when his big German shepherd named Commander spills cranberry sauce during Thanksgiving, a nod to the midterm election that didn’t see overwhelming Republican victories as expected.

“First of all, the votes have been received, counted, verified, no ballot stuffing, there is no ‘poultry’ game. The only red wave this season will be when the German Shepherd Commander dumps the cranberry sauce on our table,” Biden said.

President Biden greets children at the 2021 Thanksgiving turkey pardon. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

President Biden greets children at the 2021 Thanksgiving turkey pardon. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

“And now, based on their temperament and commitment to being productive members of society, I hereby excuse Chocolate and Chip,” he said.

The pardons come a day after Biden turned 80 and became the first president to reach that milestone in office.

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Biden is pardoning the national Thanksgiving turkey, peanut butter, in 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Biden is pardoning the national Thanksgiving turkey, peanut butter, in 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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The US Department of Agriculture estimates that 40 million turkeys will be eaten on Thanksgiving this year.

The president also claimed his home state of Delaware has “more chickens than anyone else in the nation,” which is false. The poultry industry plays a significant role in Delaware, but the state doesn’t even rank in the top ten chicken populations.

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