President Joe Biden pardoned the official Thanksgiving turkeys on Monday — and in the process dropped a series of “daddy” jokes about Republicans for failing to live up to expectations in the midterm elections.
“Votes have been entered. They were counted and checked. There was no casting of ballots; there were no birds,” Biden quipped at the White House, giving a reprieve from the presidency to turkeys named Chocolate and Chip.
“The only red wave this season will be when our German shepherd commander takes a bite of cranberry sauce at our table,” quipped the Democratic president.
Chocolate and chips are guaranteed not to be eaten this holiday season, thanks to what has become a traditional annual presidential pardon of would-be Thanksgiving staples.
The birds will live out their days in their home state, at the University of North Carolina.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon at the annual ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 21, 2022.
Evelyn Hochstein | Reuters
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper attended the pardon ceremony along with Brookland High School students, members of the National Turkey Federation and agriculture stakeholders.
Biden’s dog Commander watched from the White House balcony and barked intermittently during the event, where Chip had no interest in joining Chocolate at the table and trotted behind Biden as the president spoke. A version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic rock anthem “Free Bird” played, underscoring the comical nature of the proceedings.
The tradition of officially getting a turkey for Thanksgiving dates back to President Harry Truman in 1947.
But according to the White House Historical Association, presidents have been given turkeys since the 1870s.
President George W. Bush is credited with the first official turkey pardon when he joked to animal rights activists in 1989 that the bird had received a “presidential pardon” that year.
While presidents since Bush have used pardons as an excuse for tongue-in-cheek jokes, many Americans may be white-washed by the fact that the price of turkey — and other foods — is rising this Thanksgiving season.
The average American family’s Thanksgiving dinner in 2022 is expected to cost 20% more than last year, adjusted for inflation, according to data from the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The group’s annual survey found that the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people is $64.05, up from $53.31 in 2021.
The average price of a 16-pound turkey this year is $28.96, which is $5 more than in 2021 — a 21% increase. In 2020, a turkey cost an average of $9.57 less than in 2022.
A survey by the Farm Bureau Federation found that the biggest price increase was for stuffing mix, with a 14-ounce bag of stuffing averaging $3.88 this year, up 69% from a year ago.
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