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Biden pardons turkeys named Chocolate, Chip in annual Thanksgiving tradition

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Hunter Biden carries Beau Biden to an event where President Joe Biden will pardon The National Thanksgiving Turkeys on Monday on the South Lawn of the White House. The two turkeys are from North Carolina and their names are Chocolate and Chip. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/ee373a420821d4d7a265002ffb297fda/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Hunter Biden carries Beau Biden to an event where President Joe Biden will pardon The National Thanksgiving Turkeys on Monday on the South Lawn of the White House. The two turkeys are from North Carolina and their names are Chocolate and Chip. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 21 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden pardoned two turkeys named Chocolate and Chip on Monday, marking the annual Thanksgiving tradition with jokes about Republicans.

Biden, speaking from the White House, said that the turkeys listened to music to prepare for the crowd noise at the White House and interacted with children "to show their softer side."

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"Sounds like another flock hoping to come to Washington in 2024," Biden joked.

"We're joined by another group of kids, students from Brooklyn Middle School, and the reason they're here in Washington and the reason they're joining us today is they were invited a couple of years ago to come and because of COVID, we couldn't have it."

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The president said that he left his dog, Commander, upstairs because he feared the German Shephard would go after the turkeys. Commander began barking as the president told attendees that he didn't want to "gobble up too much of their time."

"The votes are in; they've been counted and verified. There's no ballot stuffing, there's no foul play," Biden said in a dig at false claims from Republicans that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

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"The only red wave this season is going to be if a German Shepherd, Commander, knocks over the cranberry sauce on our table."

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Biden said that the turkeys, after receiving their presidential pardons, are going to visit North Carolina State University.

"Now, when we told them that they're joining the Wolf Pack, they got a little scared," Biden said. "But then we explained it was just a mascot for the school."

Biden ended his speech by telling attendees that the United States "can't forget the reason for Thanksgiving in the first place."

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"The Pilgrims thought it was pretty important in times to come together and thank God and be grateful for what we have," Biden said, before urging Americans to get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19 ahead of winter.

"That's what the Thanksgiving tradition is all about, being grateful for what we have."

Biden designated Chocolate as the official National Thanksgiving Turkey, but both birds were pardoned. They were raised by National Turkey Federation chairman Ronnie Parker near Monroe, North Carolina.

The first documented turkey pardon was given by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, but the tradition didn't catch on until 1989 under President George H.W. Bush.

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