Washington, Nov 21 (EFE).- President Joe Biden on Monday adhered to tradition and pardoned two turkeys before they could be converted into Thanksgiving dinner at a special White House ceremony where he joked about the surprisingly modest results obtained by Republicans in the recent midterm elections.
The fortunate turkeys are “Chocolate” and “Chip,” raised in North Carolina. For the past 75 years, the US president has either received one or more turkeys for Thanksgiving and more recently has pardoned the birds to prevent them from ending up as the main dish on the holiday.
Harry Truman (who governed from 1945-1953) was the first US president to receive a Thanksgiving Day turkey from the National Turkey Federation, but it was not until 1989 that then-President George H.W. Bush, in the first year of his four-year term, who started the tradition of pardoning the bird(s).
Biden, who was briefly interrupted by his grandson Beau and his dog Commander, admitted that Chocolate, a white turkey weighing 21 kilograms (46 pounds), was his favorite because that is the flavor of his favorite ice cream.
Chocolate was placed on a table so that the audience could see him before being officially pardoned by Biden, while Chip – also a white bird – observed the proceedings from ground level.
In addition, Biden joked about the results of the Nov. 8 midterm elections, when Republicans failed to mount the so-called “red wave” of election wins predicted by some polling firms.
The Democratic leader said that the only “red wave” there will be on Thanksgiving will be if Commander “knocks over the cranberry sauce.”
“This is the United States of America. There’s not a single, solitary thing beyond our capacity as a nation – nothing beyond our capacity – if we do it together, united,” Biden concluded, to which Chocolate gobbled a statement of apparent support.
After issuing the pardons, Biden greeted his staffers’ children in the audience and had photos taken with the some of them in the area where the ceremony was held, the White House South Lawn, which was decorated with orange autumn pumpkins for the event.
When asked by reporters about US Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of a special counsel to oversee the investigations of former President Donald Trump, Biden responded that he learned of it when the press did.
Both the president and first lady Jill Biden will travel to North Carolina to participate in a dinner with the families of US soldiers and sailors, to whom he also paid tribute in his remarks, but Biden and his wife are scheduled to spend Thanksgiving Day itself with family members in Nantucket, Massachusetts.