Biden scoffs at the Republican midterms slump by pardon by turkey

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President Joe Biden on Monday granted clemency to Chocolate and Chip, a pair of turkeys who would otherwise have faced the death penalty but will now live their lives as guests of North Carolina State University’s poultry science program.

The turkeys, both from the state of Tar Heel, were pardoned in a ceremony on the South Lawn, a tradition dating back to the Abraham Lincoln administration. Their names were chosen by an annual competition, although Mr Biden joked that they could easily have been called “Chips” and “Science” – a reference to the semiconductor manufacturing bill he signed earlier this year.

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The president said the competition to choose the names of the birds had gone smoothly and was not marred by any electoral fraud.

“First of all, the votes are in, they have been counted and verified. There are no ballots, there is no foul play,” he said, adding that the only “red wave” in the White House during the Thanksgiving season would be the result of his German Shepherd Commander drinking cranberry sauce over dinner. hit the table. . The line was a reference to Republican speculation that their party would win the midterm elections, which they failed to do.

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The commander, who attended the ceremony from the Truman balcony overlooking the South Lawn, later barked in approval as the president continued.

Mr Biden did not specify what crimes both birds were charged with, but US law allows the federal government to seek the death penalty in certain cases of murder, drug trafficking, terrorism and espionage.

The president said he granted the turkeys an unconditional pardon “on the basis of their temperament and commitment to being productive members of society”.

Earlier this year, Biden also issued a sweeping pardon to all US citizens and permanent residents convicted of simple possession of marijuana. He also granted three pardons and 75 commutations in April, including a pardon to Abraham Bolden, the first black U.S. Secret Service agent to serve with a presidential security detail.

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Mr Bolden had spent 39 months in prison in the 1960s after a jury convicted him of soliciting a bribe in exchange for providing a Secret Service investigation file to a counterfeiter he had been investigating.

The president concluded his remarks by saying that the American tradition of Thanksgiving is all about being “grateful for what we have and thankful for fellow Americans we may never meet,” including the “scientists and researchers, doctors and nurses keeping us safe during the pandemic,” urging Americans to get the latest Covid-19 vaccines now widely available.

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