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Biden pardons turkeys Peanut Butter and Jelly ahead of Thanksgiving

Turkeys 'selected based on their temperament, appearance, and I suspect their vaccination status,' jokes US president

Michael Gabriel Hernandez   | 20.11.2021
Biden pardons turkeys Peanut Butter and Jelly ahead of Thanksgiving

WASHINGTON

US President Joe Biden ceremonially pardoned on Friday two turkeys ahead of the American holiday of Thanksgiving, placing them on track to spend the rest of their lives at an Indiana university, rather than ending up on the dinner table. 

"Peanut Butter and Jelly were selected based on their temperament, appearance, and I suspect their vaccination status," Biden said jokingly during the Rose Garden ceremony at the White House. "Instead of getting basted, these turkeys are getting boosted."

Vaccination jokes aside, Peanut Butter was granted the presidential pardon while Jelly received it as his alternate. They will now head to the Animal Sciences Research and Education Farm at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

"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 them everything's going to be okay," Biden joked.

The tradition has its origins in the 19th century when rumors suggest President Abraham Lincoln's son begged him to spare his pet turkey, though it was formalized in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush, and has been upheld by every president since that time.

Some credit President Harry Truman with starting the tradition, but his presidential library said in 2003 that its staffers found "no documents, speeches, newspaper clippings, photographs, or other contemporary records in our holdings which refer to Truman pardoning a turkey that he received as a gift in 1947, or at any other time during his Presidency."

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