The president joked about the considerable odds the two fowl beat to be the ones pardoned, saying that being selected for the ceremony was harder than "getting tickets to the Renaissance tour"
President Joe Biden on Monday pardoned a pair of lucky birds during the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. Turkeys Liberty and Bell headed to the White House to receive their official Thanksgiving pardons from Biden, who called it a "wonderful" tradition.
In a ceremony on the South Lawn, Biden spoke at a podium decorated with pumpkins and fall leaves, saying, "this is their day" of the two birds, who were raised in Willmar, Minnesota.
Biden also acknowledged his own celebration on Monday, saying, "It's my birthday today," and jokingly adding, "It's difficult turning 60." (The president turned 81, and has often acknowledged the criticism of his age.)
"This is the 76th anniversary of this event," he said of the pardoning ceremony. "I want you to know I wasn't there at the first one. I was too young to make it up."
Of the turkeys being honored, Biden said Liberty and Bell "love Honeycrisp apples, ice hockey," and the Mall of America, adding, "I sure as hell would like to see them play ice hockey."
As is tradition, the two turkeys spent the night prior to the ceremony at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., arriving on a red carpet before being escorted to their rooms.
The president also joked about the considerable odds the two birds beat to be the ones pardoned, saying that being selected for the ceremony was harder than "getting tickets to the Renaissance tour."
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The history of the turkey pardon dates back to 1863 and President Abraham Lincoln, according to White House history, though it was not a formal tradition at the time, and would not become one until much later.
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