WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said that the United States was “hurting” Thursday as he used a Thanksgiving address to call for support for US troops and cooperation from his rivals in a divided Washington.
“This is not the hardest Thanksgiving America has ever faced. But as long as many members of our American family are hurting, we’ve got to look out for one another,” Obama said in his address.
“We won’t do it as any one political party. We’ve got to do it as one people. And in the coming weeks and months, I hope that we can work together, Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike, to make progress on these and other issues.”
Noting a meeting with leaders of his Republican foes and fellow Democrats scheduled for Tuesday, Obama said it was time for “a real and honest discussion — because I believe that if we stop talking at one another, and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done.”
“For what we are called to do again today isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s not about left or right. It’s about us. It’s about what we know this country is capable of. It’s about what we want America to be in this new century.”
The Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives in mid-term elections earlier this month, complicating Obama’s prospects of winning approval for a raft of legislation.
Turning to the Thanksgiving holiday that will see millions of Americans traditionally gather around a roasted turkey, sweet potato, pie and other trimmings, Obama said the first family’s celebrations would be filled with friends, relatives, good food and football.
“And just as folks have done in every Thanksgiving since the first, we’ll spend some time taking stock of what we’re thankful for: the God-given bounty of America, and the blessings of one another,” he said in wishing Americans a happy Thanksgiving.
On Wednesday, Obama, his wife Michelle and their daughters Sasha and Malia handed out food donations at Martha’s Table, a local charity that helps poor children, youth and families.
He called such community aid and the service of US troops around the world “emblematic of what Americans have always done.”
“We come together and do what’s required to make tomorrow better than today. That’s who we are,” he added.
“This is also a holiday that captures that distinctly American impulse to give something of ourselves. Even as we speak, there are countless Americans serving at soup kitchens and food pantries; contributing to their communities and standing guard around the world.”
In a traditional White House ceremony on the eve of the holiday, the president spared — or “pardoned” — the lives of two turkeys that would otherwise be the centerpieces of Thanksgiving meals.
Apple and Cider will now spend their final days at the estate of first US president George Washington in Mount Vernon, Virginia, just outside the US capital.