Turkey Pardon 2023: Joe Biden saves Liberty, Bell from Thanksgiving chopping block at White House

US President Joe Biden pardons Chocolate, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, as he is joined by the 2022 National Turkey Federation Chairman Ronnie Parker and Alexa Starnes, daughter of the owner of Circle S Ranch, on the South Lawn of the White House November 21, 2022, in Washington, DC. — X/@winmcnamee President Joe Biden has pardoned two turkeys from a Minnesota farm at the White House during a 4-minute ceremony on Thursday which means that the feathered creatures won’t be butchered, boiled, roasted, and served for this year’s White House Thanksgiving feast.

The White House pardoned the turkeys as part of a beloved and enduring Thanksgiving tradition.

Liberty and Bell, the soon-to-be-exonerated birds, were revealed on Sunday during a press conference in Washington, DC, in front of an audience with cameras flashing inside the Willard InterContinental Hotel.

The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, which served as the headquarters for Biden’s 2020 campaign, was honoured in the naming of this year’s birds.

As part of the “Presidential Flock,” the baby turkeys were born more than four months ago in Willmar, Minnesota, according to the National Turkey Federation, the event’s organiser.

The turkeys received training to acclimatise them to crowds, cameras, music and loud noises before their big debut on Sunday. This was done to make sure they were ready to greet the American people.

The birds spent the remainder of the evening in a cosy double-bed room after departing their coming-out celebration in the hotel lobby.

In addition to the humorous fanfare in Washington, the birds also highlighted the nation’s turkey farmers’ efforts and the agriculture sector, according to NTF chairman and Jennie-O Turkey Store president Steve Lykken.

“This event certainly for us, is an opportunity to recognise the really hard work of turkey farmers and men and women throughout animal agriculture and the turkey industry, and this is no exception,” he said.

The University of Minnesota will shelter the pardoned turkeys when they depart Washington, Lykken continued.

During the pardoning last year, Biden made jokes about Republicans while he gave amnesty to Chocolate and Chip, two turkeys.

There has been historical controversy around the Thanksgiving turkey pardoning custom.

The White House stated that some people think the yearly ceremony began 76 years ago in 1947, the year President Harry S Truman cleared one of the birds for the first time.

Some claim that in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln may have given a turkey a reprieve; however, the White House considers this tale to be pure fiction.

President John F Kennedy granted the first official pardon for turkeys 100 years later in 1963, but the custom didn’t take off until President George HW Bush defended a fowl in 1989.

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