President Biden pardons turkeys Peanut Butter and Jelly in his first presidential turkey pardon

On Friday, President Joe Biden pardoned two turkeys, named Peanut Butter and Jelly, during the first traditional turkey pardon ceremony of his presidency. Biden pardoned the two birds and spared them from becoming a presidential meal this holiday season.

“Eventually, Peanut Butter and Jelly were selected based on their temperament, appearance and, I suspect, vaccination status,” Biden joked. “Yes, instead of getting basted, these two turkeys are getting boosted.” The Indiana-raised birds were flown to Washington, D.C., this week, enjoying a stay at the Willard Hotel and attending a Thursday news conference Thursday with the National Turkey Federation.

“Raising the presidential turkey flock has really been a lot of fun this year,” grower Andrea Welp said. “As we all know, with another year of uncertainties with the pandemic, this project has really been something to look forward to.” 

President Biden also took a chance to address the COVID-19 pandemic and acknowledge a return to Thanksgiving traditions with loved ones. “In all seriousness, it’s important to continue traditions like this to remind us how from the darkness, there’s light and hope and progress and – that’s what this year’s Thanksgiving, in my view, represents,” he said.

He added, “So many of us will be gathering with our loved ones for the first time in a long time. And we’ll be reconnecting with traditions, with our tables and our hearts full of grace and gratitude for everyone who made it possible.” 

President John F. Kennedy gave the first documented turkey pardon in 1963, but the ceremony did not catch on immediately. Turkey pardoning became a tradition in the White House in 1989 when President George H.W. Bush brought the ceremony back, which has become an anticipated part of the White House holiday season.  




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