They say politics is a subject best avoided at the dinner table, and America’s presidential hopefuls have taken this advice on board: abandoning the usual attacks to deliver the blandest Thanksgiving messages possible.
First into the dining room was President Trump – America’s rowdy, unpredictable uncle. Though Trump seemingly out of nowhere tweeted a meme of his head photoshopped onto Sylvester Stallone’s ripped 1980s body on Wednesday, and lit on Democrats during the traditional turkey pardoning, his Thanksgiving message was a more measured affair.
The president paid homage to the pilgrims who landed on American soil nearly four centuries ago, praised the military and gave thanks for the “bountiful blessings afforded to us by our creator.”
“THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 28, 2019, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.” https://t.co/qGdere0rJu
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 28, 2019
Anyone not dozing off in front of the TV already was sure to be lulled to sleep by elder statesman Joe Biden’s meandering message to America, in which he repeated his oft-uttered promise to restore America’s “soul,” whatever that means.
“Our campaign is about restoring the soul of America by recognizing that our differences are precious and our similarities infinite,” Biden said in a statement delivered with his wife Jill. “This Thanksgiving, let’s come together, declare who we are, and lift up each other. And it starts with saying thank you.”
With Biden’s verbal incontinence delivered, could the table count on Pete Buttigieg to inject some youthful, liberal energy into the mix? Well…no. ‘Mayor Pete’ touched on some of his key issues – climate change, immigration reform, and the vague-sounding “crisis of belonging in America” – before promising to “knit back our country.”
Today, as we travel to be with family or friends or begin to set the table for Thanksgiving dinner, let’s focus on the values we share and the hopes we carry to build a better future for our families, our communities, and our country. pic.twitter.com/fPRdc0p1zC
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) November 27, 2019
Bernie Sanders – though the eldest at the table – forewent the watery missives of his peers and dived straight into politics, thanking “the millions of people who are part of the political revolution” and promising to “win all over this country” and “beat Donald Trump.”
Wishing a safe and happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. We are grateful for the millions of people who are part of the political revolution. pic.twitter.com/TKly8MkaW9
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 28, 2019
Questions over what exactly Kamala Harris believes in have dogged the California Senator since she entered the presidential race in January. Harris kept it noncommittal on Thanksgiving, sticking to the kitchen instead. The former prosecutor shared cooking tips with the Washington Post, and delivered a short and apolitical video message dressed in a chef’s apron.
There’s a lot to be thankful for this year—from my family to all our joyful and talented volunteers, supporters, and staff.
Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/unlA2WZGiV
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 28, 2019
One might imagine that Elizabeth Warren, who went to great lengths to remind the world last year that she is, in fact, 1/1,024th Native American, would avoid a problematic feast like Thanksgiving and sequester herself away to meditate on the colonial legacy of the holiday. Indeed, there have been calls from academics to label Thanksgiving as a “National Day of Mourning,” to lament the the idea that “white America’s triumphs have been borne on native peoples’ backs.”
Nope, Warren put away the warpaint and thanked her family, supporters and the “grassroots movement that is fighting alongside me.”
This year, I’m grateful for my family, for the incredible opportunities I’ve had, for the many wonderful people I’ve met, and for the grassroots movement that is fighting alongside me. From my family to yours: Happy Thanksgiving!
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 28, 2019
There were no shortage of eye-rolling comments under all of the candidates’ vague holiday platitudes. But Thanksgiving is a day for most voters to load up on turkey and beer and keep out of the daily news cycle for a few precious hours. The rest will be short lived, however, as civility and togetherness will be out the window again before the turkey sandwiches are finished.
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