WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Two lucky turkeys were saved from becoming part of a Thanksgiving meal Monday. President Biden pardoned the birds at the White House as part of an annual Thanksgiving tradition. 

The two pardoned turkeys were named “Chocolate” and “Chip.” They came from a North Carolina farm and will spend the rest of their days back in their home state. 

“Chocolate and Chip are going to head to one of the nation’s great basketball schools and research universities, North Carolina State,” President Biden said. 

The turkey pardoning ceremony is a popular holiday tradition at the White House. Historians said Abraham Lincoln was the first president to spare a turkey. But it didn’t become an official yearly tradition until the first President Bush in 1989. 

Monday’s event was a moment for the White House to mark the holiday. 

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

President Biden also took the opportunity to bake some political jokes into his remarks, referencing his party’s better than expected Midterm elections performance. 

“The votes are in, they’ve been counted and verified. There’s no ballot stuffing. There’s no fowl play,” Biden said. “The only red wave this season’s gonna be if German Shepard Commander knocks over the cranberry sauce on our table.”

His ending message took on a more serious note.

“There’s not a single, solitary thing beyond our capacity as a nation, nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together, united, united,” Biden said.