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President Biden gave away chocolate and chips for Thanksgiving as part of an annual White House tradition | Main stories

(NBC) – It’s vacation time at the White House.

After a rare wedding and the important 80th birthday of the President, The White House Monday dipped into the holiday season with the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon, the arrival of the official Christmas tree and the serving of a Thanksgiving-style dinner on a military base.

The flurry of holiday activity at the White House comes after a busy weekend in person for President Joe Biden and his family and comes after by-elections Earlier this month, the president’s Democratic Party performed better than expected. Democrats have retained control of the Senate, and while the House will go to Republican control in January, GOP gains in that chamber have been minimal.

Biden and his wife, Jill, leave Washington on Tuesday to spend Thanksgiving on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. They hosted their granddaughter Naomi Biden’s wedding at the White House on Saturday, followed by the president’s 80th birthday breakfast on Sunday.

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

“The votes are in, they’re counted and verified,” Biden said as he greeted the turkey in front of hundreds of people on the South Lawn with his usual dad humor. “There is no throwing in of ballots. There are no birds. The only red wave this season will be when the German Shepherd Commander knocks over the cranberry sauce on our table.”

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

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

The Chocolate and Chip Gobblers, each weighing nearly 50 pounds (22.68 kilograms), arrived in Washington on Saturday night from North Carolina and checked into their suite at the Willard Hotel near the White House to await the president’s executive order on Monday.

The combination of chocolate and chips is also Biden’s favorite ice cream flavor.

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

Biden called Chocolate the winner and Chip his understudy. They were to live out the remainder of their natural lives on the campus of North Carolina State University.

Jill Biden also contributed to the holiday celebration by accepting the official White House Christmas tree. An 18-foot-tall (5.5-meter) Concolor fir grown on a farm in Pennsylvania, the first lady’s home state, will fill the Blue Room after the chandelier is temporarily removed so the tree can be secured in place. .

Volunteer decorators began arriving at the White House on Monday to begin decorating it for Christmas, in keeping with the theme first ladies traditionally reveal after Thanksgiving.

Paul and Sharon Schiller of Auburn, Pa., have been selected as this year’s grand champions in the National Christmas Tree Association’s contest. Along with the award, the winner will receive a gift of a Christmas tree in the White House.

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This is the second time the Schillers have presented the 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 traveled to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point off the coast of North Carolina to participate in Friends Day or to share a Thanksgiving-style meal with service members and their families.

The First Lady leads a White House initiative called Joining Forces to support and advance the sacrifices and needs of military families. The president has pushed and signed several bills to help service members and veterans, including legislation that would expand health care for those exposed to toxins from waste incineration in Iraq or Afghanistan or chemicals used in previous conflicts.

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


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