On her trip to Arizona, Nevada and Kentucky, Ms Biden discussed the Biden administration’s policies on childcare, education, the American Rescue Plan and the ‘cancer moonshot’, but regularly deviated from the planned talks to address the “shocking” conflict in Ukraine. The First Lady paid tribute to military families and thanked troops in Kentucky during a last-minute visit to Fort Campbell where many troops were being deployed to bolster NATO borders in Poland.
Jill Biden and the President have a close-knit relationship that vastly differs from that of the previous administration and those close to the couple have noted that Ms Biden’s “biggest role is being his sounding board”.
The President and First Lady share the same bedroom, unlike the former residents of the White House, and so when “the phone never stops ringing all through the night”, Ms Biden is there too.
Speaking on the Ukraine conflict, Jill Biden said: “This has just been so shocking to all of us” and praised her husband who “in the face of uncertainty, he is unshakeable.”
In Kentucky, the First Lady visited the Fort Campbell army base which is home to the 101st Airborne to thank troops and sympathise with their families for “keeping it all together.”
Speaking to the families of the deployed troops on a mission with no ending she said: “You’re doing the hard stuff. Sure, they’re doing the hard stuff…but you’re keeping it all together for your loved one.
“You didn’t have time to say a lengthy goodbye.”
The final stop was added after Ms Biden realised many of the troops the President was sending to the Polish border were being deployed from Fort Campbell.
“I knew that the President was sending troops into Poland and other places – and I said, ‘Gosh, how are the families doing?’”
She added: “So I’m coming around and you can yell at me or say kind words, it’s up to you.”
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While at the base, the First Lady also discussed the Joining Forces initiative launched by the White House to support military and veteran families, caregivers and survivors and vowed that the administration “is working every day to get you the support you have earned because your commitment to this country never waivers. You deserve the same devotion.”
She added: “I want you to know that your Commander in Chief thinks about each of you every day”.
The President’s late son, Beau Biden, was a major in the 261st Signal Brigade in Delaware and was deployed to Iraq in 2008.
At the barbeque event on Wednesday, the First Lady condemned President Putin and rallied the US troops using their nickname of the Screaming Eagles saying:
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“We are holding Putin accountable for his war through diplomacy with crippling sanctions. We are providing Ukraine with economic, humanitarian, and security assistance.
“And the Screaming Eagles are there in Europe, standing with our allies and welcoming Ukrainian refugees.”
She added: “When you want it done, ask the 101!”
Speaking on the shock of the Russian invasion 16 days ago, Ms Biden had previously said: “We don’t know where it’s going to go. We just don’t know. And we’re all just holding our breath, aren’t we?”
She added that she checks the television every day and “prays that Zelensky is still alive.”
Concluding her speech at the military base in Kentucky, the First Lady said:
“There are moments when we suddenly realise that history is being written in front of us – when we can almost feel ourselves cross the line that will divide our world into ‘before’ and ‘after’.
“This is one of those moments.”