Good evening, happy autumn, and welcome back to NPI’s continuing coverage of First Lady Jill Biden’s September 2023 visit to the Seattle area!
Not long ago, FLOTUS, as Dr. Biden is referred to in the lingo of the White House press corps, completed the final stop on her public itinerary for the day: a Biden Victory fund reception at a lakeside home on Mercer Island.
It was the second of two campaign events the First Lady headlined today for the Biden-Harris campaign and the Democratic Party. I chronicled both on behalf of the White House press corps as the editorial pool reporter.
The journey to Mercer Island began in Shoreline, our previous stop. The First Lady’s motorcade departed at 4:48 PM Pacific and headed south.
A little more than ten minutes before the time advertised on the First Lady’s schedule for the second reception (6 PM), we were on the island.
As we approached the event location, we passed a neighbor waving and holding a big sign that read “We Love Jill Biden.” At about 5:55 PM, a very short distance from our destination, we made an impromptu stop so that the First Lady could greet a group of enthusiastic kids from the neighborhood.
Apparently, Dr. Biden saw the crowd of young people and wanted to say hello.
I was invited to witness this and took several photos. You can see for yourself how excited the kids and their parents were to see the First Lady:
Biden briefly discussed her visit to Mercer Island and then explain that she will be getting in her plane to go to California after she departs the neighborhood.
One child joyfully said, “Welcome to Planet Earth!” in response, prompting a big round of laughter and chuckles from all of the adults in the vicinity.
The First Lady then posed for a photo with the kids (several of whom were wearing Girl Scout uniforms) prior to getting back into the motorcade.
We were on the move again moments later and it took all of two minutes for us to finish our journey. After a brief hold, I was escorted to the back of the home of Joe and Judy Schocken, who hosted this second Biden Victory Fund reception, according to the campaign. Their property abuts Lake Washington, with a dock and shoreline. Most of the guests were seated for the remarks.
l was in position to observe at 6:19 PM. The sun was getting low as the event began, casting the yard in a beautiful evening light.
The First Lady walked out at 6:22 PM to be introduced by Joe Schocken.
U.S. Representatives Suzan DelBene, Adam Smith, and Kim Schrier (who each represent slices of East King County) were present. They were acknowledged and thanked during the introduction along with the event’s many co-hosts, such as former Ambassador Suzi LeVine, who couldn’t attend.
An eagle flew overhead just before Dr. Biden stepped to the podium, which caught the attention of many of the attendees. Many audibly marveled at the sight. The First Lady got a standing ovation and began speaking at 6:28 PM.
“I think that was a sign, that eagle,” she said.
As in Shoreline (see my previous report here), Dr. Biden asked if anyone was from Philadelphia, and two people indicated that they were.
And again, as at the previous event, she recounted meeting President Joe Biden, their first date, and Joe Biden’s many marriage proposals.
“I knew if I said yes to Joe, it had to be forever,” the First Lady said.
“Over the years I’ve been continually inspired by his resilience and his optimism.”
“Anyone can tell you what they want to do. Joe can tell you what he’s done.”
The First Lady highlighted many of the same accomplishments she touted in Shoreline (notably, the Inflation Reduction Act and its climate action provisions, Justice Jackson’s confirmation, creating jobs for Americans), but also declared that Joe Biden had restored America’s credibility on the world stage.
She mentioned her recent trip to New York and emphasized how many people came up to her and said how thankful they were to see wise leadership at the helm of the United States again.
Referring to the Trump years, she drew a contrast with the previous administration, denouncing “U.S. policy dictated by late night tweetstorms,” “relentless attacks on our institutions” and “contempt for the rule of law.”
The First Lady framed the options facing voters in the forthcoming 2024 presidential election as a choice between “chaos, crisis, and corruption, or strong and steady leadership that actually gets things done.”
“You helped put him in the White House last election, and we need your help to finish the job. I want to ask you to start now and talk to your friends about what’s at stake in this election. I want you to talk about how much my husband Joe Biden has delivered for America,” she said.
The First Lady then asked attendees to remember how they felt the morning after the November 2016 election, repeating her Shoreline comments.
The end of the 2024 presidential election cycle is more than a year away, but Dr. Biden urged Biden Victory Fund donors to get engaged now.
“I know it’s early, but we’re going to start early,” she said.
She concluded with (what sounded to me like, word for word) the same closing line from the Shoreline event and got another standing ovation.
The press van separated from the motorcade and departed from the reception at 6:42 PM, while the First Lady was still mingling with guests.
Dr. Biden is next headed to California for the second leg of this West Coast trip, which will include campaign receptions in Los Angeles and San Diego.
That’s it from the NPI team today! We hope you enjoyed our coverage of the First Lady’s September 2023 visit to the Emerald City.