Biden cracks ‘red wave’ joke at Thanksgiving turkey pardon

WASHINGTON — President Biden joked Monday at the traditional pre-Thanksgiving turkey pardon that the only “red wave” of 2022 would be sloshing cranberry sauce, suggesting Republicans didn’t live up to expectations in the midterm elections — themselves as grim statistics showed the holiday festival was even more expensive this year.

“There’s no ballot filling, there’s no ‘poultry’ game,” Biden said on the South Lawn of the White House. “The only red wave this season will be when our German Shepherd Commander knocks over the cranberry sauce on our table.”

The president spoke briefly — saying he didn’t want to “take up too much time” — before pardoning two large white-feathered turkeys named “Chocolate” and “Chip.”

“Of course chocolate is my favorite ice cream,” Biden told his guests.

Attendees included first son Hunter Biden, who is under investigation for possible tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying, money laundering and lying on a federal gun purchase form. House Republicans, who came close to retaking the lower chamber last week, have vowed to investigate Joe Biden’s role in Hunter and first brother James Biden’s overseas advisory deals.

The North Carolina farmer who raised the birds told Biden his company raised 9.5 million turkeys that year, leading the president to say, “God loves you, 9.5 million turkeys.” I’ll tell you what, it’s like some countries I’ve been to.”

President Joe Biden speaks as he pardons Turkey's National Thanksgiving Day.
“There is no ballot filling, there is no ‘poultry’ game,” President Biden joked.

Biden got serious to wrap up the event, saying, “We can’t forget the reason for Thanksgiving at all. The thought of the pilgrims was quite important in difficult times, to come together and thank God, to be thankful for what we have. That’s what the Thanksgiving tradition is all about.”

Biden spoke as inflation remained at its highest level since the early 1980s – falling from a peak of 9.1% in June to a 7.7% annual rise in consumer prices in October.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain gave the economic woes a rosy note, writing on a Monday morning tweet“As you head into Thanksgiving, some good news: Gasoline prices are falling sharply in most parts of the country. – 1 in 10 pumps is less than $2.89 – Several states lower than Thanksgiving 2021 – Most common price is $3.29.”

President Joe Biden speaks during a pardon ceremony for the national Thanksgiving turkeys.

The President spoke briefly and said he didn’t want to “take up too much time”.

President Biden pardons chocolate, Turkey's national thanksgiving day

President Biden also pardoned a second white turkey named Chip.

Joe Biden Pardons Chocolate, Turkey's National Thanksgiving Day

President Biden pardoned Chocolate, one of the National Thanksgiving Turkeys.

President Joe Biden speaks during a pardon ceremony for the national Thanksgiving turkeys at the White House.

President Biden reminded attendees to “come together and give thanks to God, to be thankful for what we have.”

Klain didn’t mention that the current average price for a gallon of gasoline was $3.66 as of Monday, according to AAA — more than 25 cents up from a year ago at the time.

Meanwhile, significantly higher food prices are expected on Thanksgiving, according to the Farm Bureau. The average cost of preparing a holiday meal for 10 people this year is more than $64, the bureau said — up $10.74, or 20%, over the past year.

Biden faced renewed pleas for people to be pardoned in connection with the meat industry-sponsored turkey pardon.

Hunter Biden and his son Beau Biden attend the annual Chocolate and Chip Pardon Ceremony, National Thanksgiving Turkeys.
Hunter Biden and his son Beau attend the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon ceremony.

“The turkeys President Biden will pardon have names. Ditto for thousands of cannabis prisoners serving in both federal and state prisons,” said Nikolas Schiller, a prominent marijuana activist who protested outside the White House last month to urge Biden to fulfill his campaign promise and releasing the approximately 2,700 federal marijuana inmates.

“The pardoning of turkeys instead of humans is offensive,” said another cannabis activist, Rachel Ramone Donlan, in a statement released by group DC Marijuana Justice. “There are thousands of people locked in cages, some serving life sentences for what is now legal, and it’s time for them to come home.”

Biden in October issued one of the largest mass pardons in U.S. history to the roughly 6,500 people federally convicted of simple marijuana possession, as well as unknown thousands more convicted of simple possession under local DC statutes — but the blanket pardon freed no one from prison.

Commander looks out from the balcony.
The first dog, Commander, looks out from the balcony during the turkey pardon ceremony.

Federal cannabis inmates, who are generally incarcerated for distributing the drug, told the Post they were stunned that Biden barred them from the mass pardon, despite vowing at a key Democratic debate in 2019 to “everyone” in Getting out of jail for cannabis without even saying a little -level possession.

“Try imagining sitting in a cell over the holidays from a cannabis conviction and watching the turkey tradition on TV while you grow old in a jail cell and miss the birth of a grandchild,” said Amy Povah, founder of CAN- DO Foundation.

Among the inmates supported by parole advocates is Pedro Moreno, 62, who was sentenced to life without parole for distributing marijuana imported from Mexico from 1986 to 1996. Another inmate, Luke Scarmazzo, 42, was serving 14 of 22 years for running a California pharmacy.

Last year, Biden laughed at the question of releasing people for vacations.

“Are you going to pardon any other people besides the turkeys?” The Post asked Biden as he returned to the White House after a physical and colonoscopy at Walter Reed Medical Center near Washington.

Biden pointed to the reporter and joked, “Are you — you need an apology?” and in response to a follow-up question about whether he would free pot inmates, Biden said, “Turkeys only.”

This year’s turkey pardon took place on the grand South Lawn — rather than the more intimate Rose Garden — and featured schoolchildren and North Carolina officials. The first dog commander eyed the turkeys from the Truman balcony, but reporters could see almost nothing due to poor advance planning in the last press access dust collection – prompting some reporters to leave early to cover the remarks from their desks. Biden cracks ‘red wave’ joke at Thanksgiving turkey pardon


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