- President Joe Biden on Friday pardoned two Indiana-raised male turkeys at the White House.
- The turkeys, named Peanut Butter and Jelly, will be spared the fate of ending up on a dinner plate.
- “Instead of getting basted, these two turkeys are getting boosted today,” the president joked.
President Joe Biden on Friday pardoned two Thanksgiving turkeys, reveling in the longtime tradition as he kicks off his first holiday season in the Oval Office.
Biden, who spent 36 years in the Senate before serving as the nation’s vice president from 2009 to 2017 under then-President Barack Obama, has long been steeped in the traditions of Washington, DC.
However, this year will mark the president’s first opportunity to lead the festivities at the White House.
At the pardon ceremony, Biden said that the two white male turkeys were picked because of their “temperament, appearance and, I suspect, vaccination status.”
“Instead of getting basted, these two turkeys are getting boosted today,” the president joked.
—The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 19, 2021
Biden was in a cheerful mood as he spoke before White House staffers and their guests in the Rose Garden, issuing a reprieve to the Indiana turkeys — Peanut Butter and Jelly — from ending up as part of Thanksgiving dinner.
The ceremony comes as Biden has endured turbulence early in his presidency — from Democratic infighting on Capitol Hill over his legislative agenda to inflationary concerns which threaten the party’s electoral standing as next year’s midterm elections approach.
However, this week marked a crowning achievement for the administration, with the president signing into law a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that funds much-needed transportation construction projects across the country.
The president also secured renewed momentum for his roughly $2 trillion social-spending legislation with a key House vote, but it still faces approval in the evenly-split Senate.
Biden during the ceremony made light of his previous speeches on infrastructure policy, joking that “turkey is infrastructure.”
“Peanut Butter and Jelly are going to help Build Back the Butterball as we move along,” he said, in a playful reference to his “Build Back Better” reconciliation bill.
“Folks, as I’ve said before, every American wants the same thing: They want to be able to look the turkey in the eye and tell him everything’s going to be okay. And so, folks, it’s going to be okay,” he jokingly added.
Biden also made a joke at the expense of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and his husband, Chasten.
“I’m sorry for Pete and Chasten — Peanut Butter and Jelly are now the new Indiana power couple,” the president quipped.
The turkeys, who were raised in Jasper, Indiana, had a whirlwind few days in the nation’s capital, appearing with members of the Indiana congressional delegation and occupying a suite at the famed Willard Hotel.
—Kristen Powers (@Kristen7News) November 19, 2021
Now that the turkeys have been pardoned, they will head to the Animal Science Research and Education Center at Purdue University to live out the rest of their days, according to the institution.