At turkey pardon, Biden serves jokes and vaccination push

President Joe Biden promised to keep his remarks brief on Monday during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon ceremony at the White House.

“Nobody likes it when their turkey gets cold,” he told the gathered crowd on the White House’s South Lawn to watch the president grant clemency to the two lucky turkeys, Chocolate and Chip, both of North Carolina. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, his wife, Kristin, and Rep. Dan Bishop attended, as did Biden’s German Shepherd, Commander, who watched the festivities from the balcony.

The speech was sprinkled with Thanksgiving-themed puns, including a few midterm-related digs at election deniers and Republicans.

“The votes are in. They’ve been counted and verified. There’s no ballot stuffing. There’s no fowl play,” Biden said. “The only red wave this season is going to be if German Shepard Commander knocks over the cranberry sauce on our table.”

Biden also used the speech to call on Americans to get flu shots and updated Covid-19 boosters.

“Two years ago, we couldn’t even have Thanksgiving with large family gatherings. Now we can. That’s progress and let’s keep it going,” Biden said.

The Turkey pardon ceremony officially began with President George H.W. Bush in 1989, but the practice of pardoning a turkey may date back as far as the Lincoln administration.

This year’s turkeys, Chocolate (who Biden said he was told “loves catching sun on the Outer Banks”) and Chip (who enjoys “barbeque and basketball”) will live out the remainder of their lives at North Carolina State University now that they have received their pardons.

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