Biden says pardoned turkeys will be ‘promoted’, not ‘tortured’
Washington — President Joe Biden on Friday pardoned two Thanksgiving turkeys, saying white males were chosen based on their “mood, appearance, and vaccination status, I suppose.”
“Instead of being killed, these two turkeys are being beefed up today,” Biden joked.
Biden was in a cheerful mood when he appeared before White House staff and their families in the Rose Garden to pardon Indiana turkeys, who devoured merrily throughout the event. As they took a reprieve from the fate meted out to millions of turkeys on Thanksgiving Day, Biden said their names — peanut butter and jelly — reminded him of the sandwich he often enjoys for lunch.
The pardon comes as Biden’s agenda saw new signs of life, with the president signing a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill on Monday and the House approved a larger utility bill — the $2 trillion Social Services and Climate Change Act — on Friday. The bill would have to pass the Senate 50-50 before landing on Biden’s desk.
On Friday, Biden mocked his recent speeches on the infrastructure bill, declaring that “Turkey is infrastructure” and that “the peanut butter and jelly will help rebuild the butter ball as we move forward,” referring to “building a better comeback.”
“I’ve said before, every American wants the same thing: You want to be able to look a turkey in the eyes and tell them, ‘It’s going to be fine,'” he joked.
He said the two birds are now “the Indiana power couple” — with apologies to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his wife Chasten, who are both from Indiana.
This year the turkeys have spent busy days in Washington, appearing in front of the media alongside members of the Indiana congressional delegation before retiring to a suite at the luxurious Willard Hotel.
They will have a comfortable new home, too. After a proper pardon, the turkeys are now heading to Purdue University’s Center for Animal Science Research and Education, where they will spend the rest of their days indoors with access to a shaded, grassy area, according to Purdue.
Pardoning a turkey is traditionally an opportunity for superiors to crack jokes—often at their own expense—and usher in the holiday season.
In 2019, President Donald Trump joked about an impeachment inquiry, telling attendees that the turkeys “actually received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement,” referring to the congressman leading the investigation. President Barack Obama spoke in 2014 of taking measures “totally within my legal authority” to pardon turkeys, a blow to Republicans who criticized him for signing a raft of executive orders.
Presidents have pardoned turkeys since Abraham Lincoln, but President George H.W. Bush made that pardon the American tradition it is today by sparing a 50-pound bird in 1989.
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