Biden turns 81, pardons turkeys and confuses Britney with Taylor

By | November 20, 2023

The president is right about poultry, even about pop stars.

Jose Rojas and Steve Lykken, both of the Jennie-O Turkey Store, at the White House turkey pardon on November 20. (Photographs by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

It was the president’s birthday and turkeys’ lucky day.

“I just want you to know that it’s hard being 60.” President Biden » joked the crowd gathered Monday in front of the White House for the most part sanctified hollow of American traditions: the turkey pardon. This year’s two gobblers were Liberty and Bell, who hailed from a family farm in Willmar, Minnesota. Both weighed about 42 pounds and neither made a sound during the seven-minute ceremony. Biden, of course, arrived at 81, not 60.

Although Biden called it “the greatest edition of this wonderful White House Thanksgiving tradition,” the event seemed overwhelmingly lighthearted and unforgettable — even by turkey pardon standards.

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. With two wars raging and a government perpetually on the brink of shutdown, perhaps this wasn’t the time to celebrate Also a lot. Last month, the White House decided to ground B-52s, the entertainment program planned for the state dinner for Australia, citing the political climate. Things haven’t gotten much happier since.

Biden had 25 minutes Monday afternoon. The children perched on their parents’ shoulders began to squirm restlessly. After reaching the lectern around 12:40 p.m., Biden removed his fliers and said: “Before we begin, I’m going to ask for a vote: Do I release the turkeys today?

The “yes” won, according to a voice vote.

On November 20, President Biden pardoned the turkeys “Liberty” and “Bell” during an annual event at the White House before the Thanksgiving holiday. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: AP/The Washington Post)

Biden mentioned that he was more comfortable with chickens because they never grow that big. He touted his administration’s investments in rural farms and paid tribute to former first lady Rosalynn Carter, died Sunday at age 96.

He also made at least one gaffe that might require forgiveness from Swifties — which is especially unfortunate because both Liberty and Bell are Taylor Swift fans, according to an outlandish claim from Steve Lykken, president of the National Turkey Federation.

“Just to get here, Liberty and Bell had to overcome tough obstacles and competition,” Biden said. He added that a turkey making it to the White House was “harder than getting a ticket to the Renaissance tour or…the Britney tour.” She’s here – it’s pretty hot in Brazil at the moment.

He seemed to be referencing Taylor Swift’s Eras tour. A fan died Friday after attend the show in Rio de Janeiro during a record heatwave.

During his Thanksgiving turkey speech on November 20, President Biden mistook Taylor Swift for “Britney,” apparently meaning Britney Spears. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

“That’s a big bird, man,” Biden said as one of the turkeys was brought on stage. He then raised his hand. “I hereby forgive Liberty and Bell. … All right. Congratulations, birds.

The ceremony is considered the unofficial start of the Washington holiday, the president noted, but the Bidens got a head start on Sunday, when they attended a “Friendsgiving” with service members and military families in a naval hangar in Norfolk, before presenting a first screening of the film “Wonka”.

Although almost everyone involved talked about the term “76th annual pardon” — including Biden, who assured the crowd he wasn’t at the first one — that’s not entirely true.

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The National Poultry and Egg Council and the National Turkey Federation began donating turkeys to the president in 1947. That was the same year the government approved “Poultry-Free Thursdays,” meant to encourage food conservation in the country. aftermath of the Second World War, but naturally indignant. the poultry industry and restaurateurs. Farmers began sending President Harry S. Truman crates of live chickens in an event called “Chickens for Harry.”

Did Truman pardon the turkeys? Probably not. The following year, he accepted two more, saying they would be “useful” for a holiday meal. Over the years, presidents (John F. Kennedy in 1963) and first ladies (Patricia Nixon in 1973, Rosalynn Carter in 1978) have sporadically pardoned turkeys.

But the annual tradition began with President George HW Bush in 1989. “But let me assure you and this fine turkey that it will not end up on anyone’s table,” Bush said, according to the Historical Association from the White House, as animal rights activists demonstrated nearby. The turkey “will live out its days on a children’s farm not far from here.”

The ceremony has been held ever since, even at lower levels of government. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) will spare the life of a turkey named Dolly Pardon this week.

This whole thing, of course, means squatting for Liberty and Bell. Their whirlwind trip to Washington included the usual stay at the Willard Hotel, where on Sunday they met the public for the first time – and a flock of parazzi poults.

“They checked in, they went up to their rooms, they saw the map with what to do in the city, they took a bubble bath and I heard they also had something in the minibar,” said hotel general manager Markus. Platzer, said during a media preview. His claims could not be independently verified.

Now the turkeys are heading back north, where they will live out their days at the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences.

They should be happy there, according to Biden.

“They love Honeycrisp apples,” he said of the turkeys. ” Not bad huh ? Ice Hockey. I would love to see them play ice hockey.


A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the National Turkey Federation as the National Foundation for Turkey. The article has been corrected.

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