President Joe Biden pardoned two turkeys at the White House on Friday, a tradition that typically takes place in the lead-up to Thanksgiving.
The turkeys — named Peanut Butter and Jelly — are from Jasper, Indiana.
“By the power vested in me as the president of the United States, I pardon you,” Biden said to Peanut Butter, before turning to pardon Jelly.
The event marked Biden’s first turkey pardon.
He noted that this Thanksgiving may see families getting together “for the first time in a long time” due to the coronavirus pandemic, and mentioned those who may “have empty seats at the table this year.”
Andrea Welp, who helped raise the turkeys in order to be pardoned, said being around the animals had been “a lot of fun.”
“With another year of uncertainties with the pandemic, this project has really been something to look forward to,” Welp said at a news conference.
After their visit to the White House, both of the 40-pound birds will go to the Animal Sciences Research and Education Farm at Purdue University in Indiana to live permanently.
It’s unclear when the tradition of pardoning turkeys started at the White House.
The idea may have originated from former President Abraham Lincoln, according to the White House Historical Association’s website. There is lore that Lincoln’s son Tad begged him to pardon the turkey they’d planned to eat for Christmas, CBS News reports.
In 1947, former President Harry S. Truman became the first president to receive a turkey as a gift from groups hoping to promote the poultry industry.
President George H.W. Bush held the first official modern turkey pardon at the White House in 1989, and the event has been an annual tradition since.