NATIONAL NEWS

Biden opens holidays, pardons turkeys Chocolate and Chip

Nov 21, 2022, 10:39 AM

President Joe Biden pardons Chocolate, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, as he is joined by the 202...

President Joe Biden pardons Chocolate, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, as he is joined by the 2022 National Turkey Federation Chairman Ronnie Parker and Alexa Starnes, daughter of the owner of Circle S Ranch, on the South Lawn of the White House November 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. Chocolate, and the alternate, Chip, were raised at Circle S. Ranch, outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, and will reside on the campus of North Carolina State University following today's ceremony. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s holiday time at the White House.

After a rare wedding and the president’s milestone 80th birthday, the White House on Monday plunged into the holiday season with the annual pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey, the arrival of the official Christmas tree and serving up a Thanksgiving-style dinner on a military base.

The burst of holiday activity at the White House follows a busy weekend personally for President Joe Biden and his family and comes after midterm elections earlier this month that saw the president’s Democratic Party perform better than expected. Democrats kept control of the Senate and although the House will shift to Republican control come January, GOP gains in that chamber were held to a minimum.

Biden and his wife, Jill, leave Washington on Tuesday for their family tradition of spending Thanksgiving on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket. They hosted the wedding of their granddaughter, Naomi Biden, at the White House on Saturday, followed by a brunch for the president’s 80th birthday on Sunday.

For the second time, Biden played his part in the 75-year tradition of issuing a coveted presidential pardon to keep a pair of turkeys off the holiday dinner table.

“The votes are in, they’ve been counted and verified,” Biden said as he welcomed the turkeys before a crowd of hundreds on the South Lawn with the usual dad humor. “There’s no ballot stuffing. There’s no fowl play. The only red wave this season’s gonna be if German Shepard Commander knocks over the cranberry sauce on our table.“

He concluded on a serious note, encouraging Americans to get their COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the holiday season and to reflect and “be grateful for what we have.”

“This is a special time in the greatest nation on Earth so let’s be thankful,” Biden said.

Gobblers Chocolate and Chip, each weighing nearly 50 pounds (22.68 kilograms), arrived in Washington on Saturday night from North Carolina and checked into their room at the Willard hotel near the White House to await Monday’s presidential decree.

The combination of chocolate and chip also happens to be Biden’s favorite flavor of ice cream.

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

Biden named Chocolate the winner, with Chip as his backup. They were set to live the rest of their natural lives on the campus of North Carolina State University.

Jill Biden also was doing her part to help usher in the holidays by accepting delivery of the official White House Christmas tree. The 18 foot- (5.5 meters) -tall Concolor fir grown on a farm in Pennsylvania, the state where the first lady grew up, will fill up the Blue Room after a chandelier is temporarily removed so the tree can be anchored in place for safety.

Volunteer decorators began arriving at the White House on Monday to start sprucing it up for Christmas, according to a theme first ladies traditionally reveal after Thanksgiving.

Paul and Sharon Shealer of Auburn, Pennsylvania, were crowned this year’s Grand Champion Grower in the National Christmas Tree Association’s National Christmas tree contest. With the award, the winner gets to present a Christmas tree to the White House.

It’s the second time that the Shealers have donated a Christmas tree to the White House. They first claimed the association’s top honor in 2000 and presented a tree to first lady Hillary Clinton.

Later Monday, Biden and his wife were traveling to Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point near the North Carolina coast to participate in Friendsgiving, or sharing a Thanksgiving-style meal with members of the military and their families.

The first lady leads a White House initiative named Joining Forces to support and promote the sacrifices and needs of military families. The president has pushed for and has signed several bills to help service members and veterans, including legislation expanding health care for those who were exposed to toxins from the burning of waste in Iraq or Afghanistan, or to chemicals that were used in previous conflicts.

The Bidens’ late son Beau served in the Delaware Army National Guard, including a tour in Iraq, before he died of brain cancer in 2015.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

In this Jan. 4, 2013 photo, evidence of sliding snow is seen in steep terrain near a ski area at Sn...

Associated Press

2 snowmobilers killed in separate avalanches in Washington and Idaho

Two snowmobilers have been killed in separate avalanches in Washington state and in Idaho.

2 hours ago

Jeff Bezos attends "The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power" World Premiere in Leicester Square o...

Ramishah Maruf, CNN

Jeff Bezos dethrones Elon Musk to become the richest person on earth again

Jeff Bezos has reclaimed the title of the richest person on earth, surpassing Elon Musk, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index on Monday.

3 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Get Out the Vote Rally March 2 in Richmond, Virginia....

Gregory Krieg, CNN

Trump will win North Dakota GOP caucuses, CNN projects

 Former President Donald Trump will win North Dakota’s Republican presidential caucuses, CNN projects, claiming one final boost before the campaign expands to 15 states on Super Tuesday.

3 hours ago

FILE - Left to right, clockwise: Twitter former executives Vijaya Gadde, Parag Agrawal, Ned Segal, ...

Brian Fung and Clare Duffy, CNN

Former Twitter execs sue Elon Musk over severance payments

A group of former Twitter executives sued Elon Musk on Monday in a bid to recover more than $128 million in severance that they allege Musk has not paid since he acquired the company, now called X, more than a year ago.

6 hours ago

Idaho State Police released aerial photos of a string of crash sties on Interstate 84 on March 4, 2...

Mary Culbertson

63 cars, semitrucks crash on I-84 following winter storm

Idaho State Police responded to a string of crashes on I-84 Monday morning, closing miles of the interstate for hours.

7 hours ago

Tova Callender, left, and Christiane Keyhani of Hui O Ka Wai Ola, collect water samples at the Mala...

AUDREY McAVOY Associated Press

In Hawaii, coral is the foundation of life. What happened to it after the Lahaina wildfire?

For now, state officials are urging the public to limit their exposure to the ocean and seafood until scientists understand what might be making its way through the food chain.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Biden opens holidays, pardons turkeys Chocolate and Chip