This morning, Joe and Jill Biden went out for a walk with their dogs, Champ and Major, to check out the surprise the first lady had installed overnight for Valentine's Day weekend. The White House lawn has been decorated with oversized hearts that have positive words like LOVE, GRATITUDE, COMPASSION, and FAMILY on them. The one that says HEALING is signed "Love, Jill."
As they walked along with coffee cups in hand, the first couple was met by a few members of the press. The conversation that they had has gone viral—not so much because of how extraordinary it was, but rather the opposite. It was delightfully ordinary, filled with normalcy, decency, and even a random act of kindness for good measure. And the simple goodness of it all is moving people to tears.
President Biden: "#ValentinesDay is a big. Jill's favorite day. For real." Q: "What inspired you to do this?"… https://t.co/UrmcEwWgzQ— CSPAN (@CSPAN)1613135606.0
First, a reporter asked Dr. Biden what inspired her to have the display made, and she said, "I just wanted some joy. With the pandemic, just, everybody's feeling a little down. So it's just a little joy. A little hope. That's all."
President Biden told reporters that Valentine's Day is Jill's favorite holiday and shared how she painted "Joe loves Jill" on his White House office windows when he was vice president. Then he talked about an interview he'd done with journalist Juju Chang in which she asked about Jill and Joe's "great love affair," and how he said that he loved Jill more than she loved him.
Asked how he would extend that love story to the American people who are feeling so down, Biden replied, "Tell them there is hope," he said. "There's hope. They just have to stay strong. A lot of people have gone through unbearable suffering. They've lost their families—lost their children, lost their husbands, wives, moms, dads—and it's almost unbearable. The one thing I can say to them is they're still in your heart...they really are."
The president speaks from personal experience, having lost his first wife and baby daughter in a car accident shortly after he was first elected to the Senate, and then losing his oldest son to brain cancer in 2015.
Following that serious moment, the first couple and the reporter chatted a bit more, with the reporter joking about bringing coffee for everyone. After talking about the couple's German Shepherds—Champ, who is 14 years old, and Major, who is a young rescue dog—President Biden walked over and handed his cup of coffee to the reporter, promising that he hadn't drunk out of it yet.
Looking through comments on the video, that act of kindness moved many people to tears. In fact, the whole video had people way up in their feelings, with some people saying that the decency and normalcy were "overwhelming" after the past four years.
@NinaBina4Peace @cspan @FLOTUS Overwhelmed.. perfect word.— Janice .. hopeful again! (@Janice .. hopeful again!)1613150517.0
@Annie25CO @cspan @FLOTUS I cried when he handed over his coffee— Marie Titus🌊🌊🌊🌊2020 (@Marie Titus🌊🌊🌊🌊2020)1613140984.0
@MiWolf2 @MarieTitus9 @Annie25CO @cspan @FLOTUS I just cried thru it all, I love it so much— STAY HOME. (@STAY HOME.)1613148815.0
@RJDeal @cspan @FLOTUS The whole look of jeans, a jacket and a cup of coffee. It’s so refreshing.— Robert O'Mara (@Robert O'Mara) 1613140923.0
@traleanatree @cspan @FLOTUS I was wondering what it was about this video that makes me feel so much better. I thin… https://t.co/HzmbU8cDdD— Peace.✌️Love.💚Coffee.☕ (@Peace.✌️Love.💚Coffee.☕)1613150494.0
It shouldn't be overwhelming to see a loving first couple out for a walk with their dogs, sharing coffee and chatting with people, but it is. Some people commented that they feel like they've just gotten out of an abusive relationship (and indeed, there are many analyses that point out the similarities between what America experienced the past four years with the dynamics of an abusive relationship), so this normalcy and decency is refreshing, if perhaps a bit jarring. It's going to take time to adjust to not feeling traumatized every time the president talks to a reporter.
The word HEALING on the heart behind Biden as he chats with a reporter feels rather fitting, considering the reactions to this clip. Who knew how truly healing a pair of jeans, a pair of dogs, and a simple gift of a cup of coffee could feel?
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