Washington – The president of the United States, Joe Biden, fulfilled this Monday the tradition of pardoning two turkeys on the occasion of Thanksgiving, during a ceremony at the White House that coincided with his 81st birthday.
The lucky birds this year were “Liberty” and “Bell,” two turkeys from Willmar, Minnesota, who thanks to the presidential pardon will enjoy a golden retirement instead of becoming someone’s dinner next Thursday.
Every year around this time, some 200 million turkeys are slaughtered in the United States as the star dish of Thanksgiving, which commemorates a banquet shared between English settlers and indigenous people in 1621 to celebrate a good harvest.
Biden pardoned the two turkeys at an event on the White House gardens in which he gave a short speech with jokes and jokes.
“Liberty”, displayed on a podium decorated with autumn pumpkins, gulped knowing he had been forgiven, while “Bell” awaited the long-awaited moment from the ground.
Biden had to blow out 81 candles, so he wanted to remind the public, among whom were young students, that today is his birthday: “It’s hard to turn 60,” he joked.
The president’s age has become a concern for his re-election campaign because several polls indicate that most Americans see him as too old to remain in office. His most likely rival, Republican Donald Trump, is 77 years old.
In fact, Biden made another of his usual gaffes by confusing Taylor Swift with Britney Spears when making a joke during his pardon speech.
The tradition of turkeys in the White House dates back to 1947, when the National Turkey Federation gave a pair of specimens to President Harry Truman (1945-1953).
The federation repeated these donations for several years until George HW Bush (1989-1993) established the tradition of pardoning turkeys, a practice that his predecessors have imitated to this day.
Treated with all honors, ‘Liberty’ and ‘Bell’ arrived in the American capital in a black Cadillac Escalade and spent the weekend in a luxurious hotel near the White House before receiving clemency from the president.
The two beautiful turkeys, weighing about 20 kilos each, with white plumage and a blue head, were chosen in the competition organized every year by the National Turkey Federation.
Over the past few days, caregivers treated their ears to music by Taylor Swift and Prince so they would be prepared for the hubbub of the event at the presidential mansion.
According to the National Turkey Federation, “Liberty” and “Bell” will be delivered to the College of Science at the University of Minnesota.
The presidential pardon of the turkey this Monday also served as the starting signal for the Christmas holidays at the White House.
The first lady, Jill Biden, receives this Monday the Christmas tree that this year will decorate the presidential residence, a fir tree of more than five meters from Fleetwood (North Carolina).