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Chocolate Receives Thanksgiving Pardon

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President Joe Biden pardons Chocolate, the national Thanksgiving turkey, at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. Biden is joined by, Ronald Parker, Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, and Alexa Starnes, daughter of the owner of Circle S Ranch. See story below.

Biden opens holidays, pardons turkeys Chocolate and Chip

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden continued a 75-year tradition Monday and pardoned a pair of Thanksgiving turkeys named after his favorite flavor of ice cream while cracking jokes about his political party’s better-than-expected performance in this month’s midterm elections.

“The votes are in, they’ve been counted and verified,” Biden said as he welcomed turkeys Chocolate and Chip before hundreds of people gathered on the South Lawn in unseasonably cold weather. “There’s no ballot stuffing. There’s no fowl play. The only red wave this season’s gonna be if German shepherd Commander knocks over the cranberry sauce on our table.” Commander is his dog.

Chocolate and Chip, each weighing nearly 50 pounds (23 kilograms), were driven up from North Carolina on Saturday. They were checked into a room at the Willard hotel, near the White House, to await their visit with the president and his declaration of their freedom.

Chocolate chip is Biden’s favorite flavor of ice cream. The president joked at the event that “we could have named them Chips and Science,” after the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act that he championed and signed into law this year.

“I hereby pardon Chocolate and Chip,” Biden declared. Before the ceremony, his son Hunter Biden brought his toddler son, Beau, who is almost 3, outside to see the turkeys.

Both gobblers were hatched in July in Monroe, North Carolina, according to the National Turkey Federation, sponsor of the turkey tradition, which dates to 1947 and President Harry Truman.

The burst of holiday activity at the White House followed a busy weekend personally for Biden and his family, along with midterm elections that saw the president’s Democratic Party perform well enough to defy historical trends that had forecast huge losses. Democrats will keep control of the Senate. Although Republicans will control the House when a new Congress is seated in January, Democrats did keep GOP gains in that chamber to a minimum.

The official White House Christmas tree was delivered Monday, and the Bidens helped serve a Thanksgiving-style dinner on a North Carolina Marine Corps base later that evening.

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