These days, the campaign stops are virtual.
Dr. Jill Biden dropped in on a Zoom call hosted by West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James on Wednesday where she shared intimate details about her relationship with the former Vice President and laid out a vision of what a Joe Biden White House might look like.
When she met her future husband, she didn’t immediately imagine him as the person she’d be with for the rest of her life.
“It was the 70’s. Tie-dye shirts, bell bottoms, clogs for the guys,” she said. “But I opened my front door. There was Joe. I took one look at his perfect suit and his leather loafers and I thought, ‘Thank God it’s only one date.’ One date eventually turned into a marriage proposal, and OK, if I’m being honest, it was five proposals.”
Biden said she was meeting Joe Biden in the wake of a tragic car accident in which he lost his wife Neilia and infant daughter. His sons had been seriously injured. And now here she was, meeting a man who was clearly grieving, but also attempting to pick up the pieces.
She said she knew it wasn’t just about marrying a spouse. It was joining a family in desperate need of stability, and it couldn’t be temporary. It had to be forever.
It meant Biden had to come to grips with loving someone who still loved another.
“It’s hard to know what you owe a spouse who died before you came along,” Biden said. “A lot of people wrestle with the fact that the love of their lives loved someone else first and perhaps never stopped loving that person. Some people feel jealous. Some people feel inadequate. Some let questions of what might have been eat away at their peace of mind. But from the beginning, Joe made it clear there was room in his heart for both of us. I knew that if he could love Neilia as deeply as he did, then maybe I could be loved that completely too.”
Over time, Biden said she has found inspiration in her husband’s resilience and optimism. She said her husband’s steady leadership is built for the current moment, with families struggling to deal with COVID-19.
Every day, Biden said, people are rising to the occasion. Essential workers are risking their health to do their jobs, and educators are seamlessly adapting to a new teaching method. But they need help.
“No matter what is on the news, we are seeing that the heart of our nation still beats with kindness and with courage,” Biden said. “And we need leaders who will help us along and not hold us back. We need a President who will work with states like Florida to tackle this virus, who will provide science-based guidance and resources and who will protect older Americans, people with disabilities and others who are at risk.”
She said Joe Biden would work to expand Medicare and ensure quality healthcare for senior citizens, and he’d try to make sure that seniors have a choice to receive care at home or in a supportive community.
A Biden Presidency would work to increase Social Security and food stamp benefits to ensure people facing financial hardship wouldn’t be disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. And most of all, she said she was confident her husband had the decency, the empathy and the skill to do the job.
“If Joe were President right now, he would be partnering with educators, childcare providers, unions, communities and families to ensure that schools open safely and have the resources, guidance and support they need,” she said. “We need to get this virus under control … but then we need to provide guidelines to our state and local governments to help them make the decisions about their schools and their educators and their children.”
Asked to imagine what life might be like under a Biden presidency, she imagined personal anecdotes.
“You get a call from your granddaughter who has just graduated from community college without any student loan debt,” she said. “She tells you about her new job in cutting edge green technology. One that pays well.”
“When you go out to get your mail out of the mailbox, you find out your neighbor was just diagnosed with breast cancer. But they found it early and she tells you how grateful she is because she was able to get insured. When you go to bed that night, you don’t worry about a crashing economy or corruption in government. You don’t event think about the government at all because you know a team of talented, thoughtful, honest, truthful public servants are in the White House.”
Trump Victory released the following statement regarding Dr. Biden’s virtual campaign stop.
“President Trump and his Administration are working to provide critical funding to our small businesses, resources to safely reopen our economy, and guidelines to send Florida’s children back to school,” said spokesperson Emma Vaughn. “Meanwhile, Joe Biden wants to hold America hostage by keeping our schools and economy closed in a desperate attempt to win in November.”