Biden to celebrate his 81st birthday pardoning Thanksgiving turkeys

President Joe Biden will be spending his 81st birthday Monday carrying out an annual White House tradition: pardoning two lucky turkeys.

The National Turkey Federation announced Sunday the selected star birds are named Liberty and Bell, both coming from Willmar, Minnesota.

“One of the perks of the job is having the opportunity to raise the National Thanksgiving turkeys and presenting them, of course, to the president of the United States at the White House. This event, certainly for us, is an opportunity to recognize the really hard work of turkey farmers and men and women throughout animal agriculture and the turkey industry, and this is no exception,” National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Lykken said Sunday.

Ahead of their White House visit Monday, Liberty and Bell have shared a luxurious room in the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Lykken said Sunday that the special pair received a “red carpet welcome” at the Willard on Saturday.

“They went up to the rooms, they saw the map, what to do in the city. They had a bubble bath, and I’ve heard that they also had something out of the mini bar,” said Markus Platzer, the hotel’s general manager.

Lykken added that to get prepared for their big day in the spotlight, Liberty and Bell have also been listening to some music, including Taylor Swift and Prince.

“I can confirm they are, in fact, Swifties,” Lykken said.

Liberty and Bell were hatched as part of the National Turkey Federation’s presidential flock in July, Lykken said Sunday. To prepare the prized turkeys for the spotlight, the flock is raised protected from extreme weather and predators, free in their barn to walk about and have constant access to water and feed, he added.

“After the red carpet welcome by Willard yesterday and meeting all of you today, I think they’re absolutely ready for prime time,” Lykken said.

After Liberty and Bell are officially pardoned Monday at the White House, the pair will live out the rest of their days at the University of Minnesota.

“I know they’re going to receive the highest level of care from the experts and enjoy their time. Maybe they’ll get to a hockey game,” Lykken said.

This will be Biden’s third time pardoning a pair of turkeys in preparation for the holiday season, continuing the presidential tradition that began in 1947 with the National Turkey Federation presenting a turkey to President Harry Truman.

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