Before the 2021 course started, the authorities of the vocational training center in Northern Virginia decided to shine a light on the fact that one of its teachers is the first lady of the United States, Jill Biden, who has taught at that institute since she took office. as second lady in 2008. When Joe Biden was sworn in as president, he learned that they would be handing out fliers around campus with his new position in the White House. Outraged, she sent an email to her teammates to stop the play. “I am an English teacher here, not first lady,” she wrote, according to CBS News.
Although it is not quite like that. His students, who now have to go through a metal detector before attending English class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, know this. There are Secret Service agents in the classrooms and your teacher reviews exams in the Jackie Kennedy Garden or in a late night motorcade on the highway. Despite everything, she has managed that in that corner of the United States where she teaches, no one calls her first lady. There, and only there, is she still “Doctor B”.
Jill Biden (New Jersey, 1951) has traveled the country more than the president himself. Even journalists admit that it is tiring to keep up with him. In his first year he has visited 35 states and more than 60 cities, many conservative. In addition, he makes more and more public appearances thanks to his ability to convey empathy and that people open the door to him because they know his story. They identify with the divorced, remarried middle-class woman; the mother of a military family; the stepmother who lost a son she loved as her own; the English teacher who has never stopped working.
“She is someone who has experienced the same challenges and joys as many other women and feels comfortable talking about it,” says Katherine Jellison, a specialist in first ladies, to explain her pull. “In addition, she has tried to be a unifying first lady, for everyone, regardless of their political position and ideology,” adds this history professor at Ohio University.
It is not only that Jill Biden arrived at the White House after 40 years in the public eye, it is that she also did so to occupy a position that bordered on insignificance during the period of her predecessor. Melania Trump will be remembered as the first lady who was not, or at least seemed not to want to be. The change in the east wing, where the office of the president’s wife is located, has been as radical as in the Oval Office. The Slovenian supermodel moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue six months after her husband and took another 10 to pick a cause to pursue. Hermetic at all costs, she was seen little and heard less.
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Now, Jill Biden is hours away from everything she sets out to do. He is 70 years old, but those close to him assure that he has more resistance than people half his age. From day one he decided to work on three causes: greater education; job protection and opportunities for military families; and the fight against cancer. Although, in reality, he has spent half his life immersed in these initiatives. She is the first wife of a US president to continue her professional career from the White House. “It’s good for modernizing the role of first lady, adapting it to the contemporary world and reflecting the reality of most women: working and having a family life,” says Jellison.
The Democratic Party is aware of the value that Jill Biden represents, especially as her husband celebrates his first anniversary in the White House with an approval rating of just 40%, according to Gallup, the lowest figure of any president at the end of his first term. exercise, except for Trump. “Clearly, she is more popular than her husband and she is probably one of the most popular Democrats right now,” says Myra Gutin, author of several books on first ladies, including Media Relations and the Modern First Lady: From Jacqueline Kennedy to Melania Trump (Media Relations and the Modern First Lady: From Jacqueline Kennedy to Melania Trump, 2020).
“She could be a secret weapon in the legislative elections [en noviembre]. I think he’s going to do a lot of campaigning. It makes sense that they put it out there, it reminds me of Laura Bush and George W. Bush in 2004,” says Gutin. Movements in the White House East Wing office confirm the theory. This week the first lady expanded her communications team because, according to the Axios news portal, she anticipates that she will have to attend to more political issues ahead of the fall elections. “I don’t expect him to come out saying ‘Mitch McConnell is the worst thing that’s ever happened to my husband,'” says the professor at Rider University, New Jersey. “Instead, I can imagine her saying: ‘Vote for this candidate. Why? Because it will help Joe in Congress,’” adds Gutin.
Since Jill Biden arrived at the White House, the name of Lucy Hayes, first lady in 1877, when the US ended the post-Secession War reconstruction period, has been heard in Washington again. The country is not coming out of an armed conflict, but the Democrat won what he considered the “battle for the soul of the United States.” In that thick political air, still too charged, Jill Biden, like Hayes, has been able to read the moment and has tried to repair trust. “I guess I didn’t expect that. [ser primera dama] it would imply playing a curative role,” but “we have suffered so much as a country,” he told the Associated Press last week.
In his travels, the doctorate in Education strives to reach out to people who do not support Joe Biden. “After talking to those people I think maybe they go home and say to themselves, ‘Hey, you know what? Perhaps they are not what I thought,” the first lady told The New York Times. It seems like the mentality of a race politician, but she always says that she does not have that muscle developed.
in his biography Where the Light Enters (Where the light enters, 2019) describes the sleepless nights before campaigning for her husband and how her voice would tremble when making speeches. When Barack Obama offered Joe Biden the vice presidency, Jill couldn’t even fake a smile. His expression froze. She just wanted to keep teaching. “Teaching is not just what I do; it is what I am”.
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