Biden Graces Peanut Butter Jelly Turkeys Before Thanksgiving | Connect FM | Local news radio

(WASHINGTON) – President Joe Biden granted the first pardons of his presidency on Friday to lucky turkeys named Peanut Butter and Jelly.

In a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden, Biden spared the poultry couple from becoming a Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Biden said the turkey’s forgiveness tradition aims to remind Americans on Thanksgiving to be thankful – but also offers the opportunity to have a “little” fun.

“Turkey is an infrastructure. The peanut butter and jelly are going to help rebuild the butterball, ”Biden said, following a big week for his infrastructure program.

“As a man from the University of Delaware, I have a soft spot for a blue hen,” Biden joked of that university’s mascot, later adding that the two turkeys would soon be getting their booster shots.

“It’s important to carry on traditions like this to remind us of how out of darkness there is light, hope and progress – and that’s what Thanksgiving this year is all about. , in my opinion, represents, “he said.

With the National Turkey Federation promising there are plenty of turkeys to gobble up at this year’s celebration – when more Americans will gather than in 2020 – Biden has stuck to the tradition, sparing two turkeys from the dinner table this year.

The White House selected the names Peanut Butter and Jelly from a list of options submitted by Indiana students.

Peanut Butter and her replacement, Jelly, traveled to the White House from Jasper, Indiana, early Wednesday, driven in a van converted into a “mini-barn” to the nation’s capital.

The responsibility for deciding which farm will supply the birds each year rests with the president of the National Turkey Federation – a process that this year’s president Phil Seager began in July, when he asked turkey farmer Andrea Welp if she would accept the challenge.

“This turkey has to kind of learn to sit, stay and, in a perfect world, strut around a bit and look good for the cameras,” Segar said.

Welp has been working with a small herd to try and prepare them for this process for the past six weeks, with peanut butter and jelly last week being considered the turkeys with the best temperament to handle the big time, according to Segar.

Welp, a third-generation farmer from Indiana, said herding the Presidential herd was great fun for her and her family and a highlight of her career.

“With another year of uncertainties with the pandemic, this project was really something to look forward to and was a joy to be able to participate. I know the kids really had fun raising the birds, especially dancing to the birds. loud music to prepare them for all the media attention on D-Day, ”Welp said at a press conference Thursday, where the turkeys were first paraded in front of the audience.

After arriving in Washington, the two turkeys spent the day before forgiveness having their feathers puffed up at the nearby five-star Willard Hotel.

“We are preparing the room more to make sure it is comfortable for them, depositing the chips and making sure their food and water are accessible,” said Beth Breeding, spokesperson for the National Federation of Turkey. , at ABC News.

“We do our best to make sure we leave the room cleaner than we even found it. We then clean and then we also work with the hotel to make sure the room is cleaned, ”she added.

History of poultry pardons

The origin of Turkey’s presidential pardons is a bit unclear. Unofficially, reports go back to President Abraham Lincoln, who spared a bird from its disappearance at the behest of his son, Tad. However, White House Historical Association historian Lina Mann warns that the story may be more folkloristic than factual.

After Lincoln’s tenure, the White House often received a vacation bird from Horace Vose, the “turkey king” of Rhode Island, sending his best turkey to 11 presidents over four decades – though these turkeys have already been. slaughtered and dressed for the president’s table, Mann says.

The real beginning of what has become the current tradition has its roots in politics and dates back to the Truman presidency in 1947.

“There had been this government-led initiative called ‘Poultry Free Thursdays’ to try and preserve various foods in the aftermath of World War II,” Mann said.

“But the poultry industry hesitated because Thursday was Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, and it was Turkey’s main holiday. So they were outraged, ”she added.

After the White House was inundated with live birds sent as part of a “Hens for Harry” counter-initiative, the National Turkey Federation and the National Poultry and Egg Council gifted Truman with a turkey for smooth out tousled feathers and highlight the turkey industry – although the turkey was not saved from the holiday feast.

Instead, President John F. Kennedy started the trend to publicly spare a turkey donated to the White House in November 1963, just days before his assassination. In the years since, Mann says the event has become a bit more sporadic, with even some first ladies like Pat Nixon and Rosalynn Carter stepping in to accept guests of honor on behalf of their husbands.

The tradition of public savings has returned for good under the Reagan administration, but the official tradition of poultry pardon in the White House began in 1989, when President George HW Bush offered the first official presidential pardon.

“Let me assure you and that brave Tom Turkey, he won’t end up on anyone’s table – not this guy,” Bush said on November 17, 1989.

“He has obtained a presidential pardon now and … allows him to live out his days on a children’s farm not far from here,” he added.

In the 32 years that followed, at least one lucky bird was granted additional cups each year.

After receiving the first pardons of Biden’s presidency, Peanut Butter and Jelly will return to Indiana to live the rest of their lives at Purdue University’s Animal Science Research and Education Farm.

“These people who are going to be the next generation of leaders in our industry, so we’re really excited to partner with Purdue on this and make sure turkeys have a home where they will receive the highest quality of care,” he said. declared Breeding.

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