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Joe Biden turns 81 and celebrates by pardoning two huge turkeys from the Thanksgiving table

Liberty and Bell are ready to receive his presidential pardons.

The two Thanksgiving turkeys were due to arrive at the White House this Monday to play their part in what has become an annual Christmas tradition: a president who It prevents them from becoming someone’s dinner.

Liberty and Bell, in their hotel room in Washington. Photo: AP

Joe Biden was waiting for them around 1:15 p.m. Argentine time to give them his forgiveness.

“We think it’s a great way to start the Christmas season and a really fun honor”said Steve Lykken, president of the National Turkey Federation and president of Jennie-O Turkey Store, in an interview with The Associated Press.

The start of the Christmas season and Biden’s birthday

The event, scheduled this year for the south garden instead of the rose garden, marks the unofficial start of the Christmas season in Washingtonand Monday was shaping up to be an opening day especially busy.

Joe Biden, the oldest president in US historyyes, too celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday. In the afternoon, his wife, first lady Jill Biden, accepted delivery of a 18-foot Fraser fir from Fleetwood, North Carolina, as the official White House Christmas tree.

Lykken hosted Liberty and Bell on Sunday at the Willard Intercontinental, a luxury hotel near the White House. The gobblers checked into a suite there Saturday following their red-carpet arrival in the U.S. capital following a daylong road trip from Minnesota in a black Cadillac Escalade.

The turkeys were unveiled Sunday at the Willard Intercontinental, a luxury hotel near the White House.  Photo: APThe turkeys were unveiled Sunday at the Willard Intercontinental, a luxury hotel near the White House. Photo: AP

“They were raised like all our turkeys, protected, of course, from extreme weather conditions and predatorsfree to walk with constant access to water and food“Lykken said Sunday, as Liberty and Bell strutted around Willard’s newly renovated Crystal Room on plastic sheets laid out on the carpet.

Little children in the crowd of spectators, many of them employees and guests of the Jennie-O Company, shouted at them, “Gobble up, gobble up.”

The male turkeys, both about 20 weeks old and about 40 pounds, were born in July in Willmar, Minnesota (Jennie-O is based there) as part of the “presidential flock,” Lykken said. They listened to music and other sounds to prepare for Monday’s commotion at the White House.

“They listened to all kinds of music to prepare for the crowd and the people on the road. “I can confirm that they are, in fact, Swifties and they like some Prince,” Lykken said, referring to Liberty and Bell being Taylor Swift fans. “I think they are absolutely ready for prime time.”

The male turkeys, both about 20 weeks old and around 19 kilos, were born in July.  Photo: APThe male turkeys, both about 20 weeks old and around 19 kilos, were born in July. Photo: AP

The tradition dates back to 1947, when the National Turkey Federation, which represents turkey farmers and producers, first introduced a national Thanksgiving turkey. to President Harry Truman.

At that time, and even before, the devourer was given as a gift for Christmas consumption by the first family. But by the late 1980s, the tradition had evolved into an often humorous ceremony in which birds are forgiven and They are given a second chance in life after preventing them from ending up at the family Thanksgiving table.

In 1989, as animal rights activists picketed nearby, President George HW Bush said: “But let me assure you and this fine turkey, that he won’t end up on anyone’s table and will be allowed to live out his life on a children’s farm not far from here.”

Liberty and Bell at the Willard Hotel.  Photo: APLiberty and Bell at the Willard Hotel. Photo: AP

After Biden pardons his third pair of turkeys on Monday, Liberty and Bell will be returned to their home state to be served by the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences at the University of Minnesota.

“You can imagine the wonderful attention they will receive from students, veterinarians, teachers, etc., so hopefully they will have the opportunity, perhaps, to go see a hockey game or spend time with Goldy the gopher,” Lykken said, referring to the university’s mascot.

200 million bucks on the table

Lykken said that Just over 200 million turkeys will be eaten on Thanksgiving Day.

Markus Platzer, general manager of the Willard, said the hotel’s role in introducing turkeys is “the highlight of the year.” Willard has been involved for more than 15 years, he said, calling the turkeys “our very special guests.”

Liberty and Bell will spend the rest of their days on a college campus.  Photo: APLiberty and Bell will spend the rest of their days on a college campus. Photo: AP

“There are so many bad things happening globally that this is something where everyone, you know, makes people smileat least for a few minutes,” Platzer said Sunday.

Biden will eat your Thanksgiving turkey with his family on Nantucket, an island in Massachusetts, continuing a long family tradition.

On Sunday, he and the first lady served an early Thanksgiving meal to hundreds of service members USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS Gerald R. Ford at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, the largest facility of its kind in the world, along with their families.

The author is a journalist for the Associated Press

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