Boosted, Not Basted: Biden pardons 2 turkeys in Thanksgiving tradition

“Turkey is infrastructure,” he said. Biden. “Peanut Butter and Jelly will help rebuild Butterball.”

On Thursday, Peanut Butter and Jelly was unveiled at a ceremony at the Willard InterContinental hotel. The birds tumbled around the elegant hotel as Phil Seger, chairman of the National Turkey Federation, and Andrea Welp, a turkey breeder based near Jasper, Ind., Introduced them to the public.

The couple’s training to become the turkeys pardoned by the president included a regime of listening to loud music to cope with the stress of visiting Washington in 2021, which for anyone who has been here recently feels related.

Their visit ended with a happier note than some of their predecessors: Former presidents, including Truman, tended to eat the birds presented to them. The practice of giving freedom to turkeys dates back to the Kennedy era, although President George HW Bush was the first to formalize the process and recognize it as an official pardon. Sir. Biden said that once pardoned, Peanut Butter and Jelly would recover at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

In recent years, the turkey pardon tradition that has been hailed as the dumbest in the United States has provided a dissonant backdrop for presidents dealing with political divisions and a federal lawsuit or two. In fact, it was only a short year ago that the cornball case suddenly gained news value when an open question swirled: Would President Donald J. Trump pardon himself along with the turkeys Corn and Cob? (He did not.)

In the year since Corn, Cob and Mr. Trump went free, Mr. Biden established himself as a different kind of president who runs a very different White House, one that tries to be more attuned to the human strain of coronavirus and the hole it has torn in American life.

But for about half an hour, Mr. Biden, who has allowed himself to get ceremonial indulgences as president without shooting a jeep down the driveway of the White House, amused himself with the bad puns and father-jokes. And he behaved comfortably in surroundings where his only concern was to talk over a turkey devouring crochet.

“People, as I have said before, all Americans want the same thing: You will be able to look the turkey in the eye and tell them that everything will be OK,” said Mr. Biden. “Folks, it should probably work.”

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