WASHINGTON — Jill Biden made a passionate and personal argument for her husband, Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday at the second night of the Democratic National Convention.
“How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding-and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith,” said Biden, recounting how she met her future husband shortly after his first wife and baby daughter were killed in a car crash in 1972.
“Joe’s purpose has always driven him forward. His strength of will is unstoppable. And his faith is unshakable—because it’s not in politicians or political parties—or even himself. It’s in the providence of God. His faith is in you—in us,” said Biden.
Biden’s overarching message of unity and compassion could hardly have been more different than the divisive “us vs. them” message that Joe Biden’s opponent, President Donald Trump, is pinning his reelection hopes on.
But Jill Biden did not mention Trump at all, not even in passing. Instead, she focused on her husband, her family, and her optimistic vision of America.
“There are those who want to tell us that our country is hopelessly divided, that our differences are irreconcilable,” said Biden. “But that’s not what I’ve seen over these last few months. We’re coming together and holding on to each other. We’re finding mercy and grace in the moments we might have once taken for granted.
“We’re seeing that our differences are precious and our similarities are infinite. We have shown that the heart of this nation still beats with kindness and courage. And that’s the soul of America that Joe Biden is fighting for now.”
The speech was Biden’s first major address as the spouse of the presidential nominee, and as the nation’s would-be first lady. Unlike many of the marquis speakers thus far in the convention, Biden spoke live on Tuesday, not in a prerecorded video.
Biden spoke from a meaningful location: The actual classroom at Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Delaware, where Biden taught English from 1991-1993.
The high school served as a potent backdrop for Biden, a career ESL teacher, to express empathy for all the families who have been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I hear it from so many of you, the frustration of parents juggling work while they support their children’s learning, or afraid that their kids might get sick from school,” she said.
“The concern of every person working without enough protection. The despair in the lines that stretch out before food banks, and the indescribable sorrow that follows every lonely last breath when the ventilators are turned off.”
“As a mother, and as a grandmother, and as an American, I am heartbroken by the magnitude of this loss, by the failure to protect our communities, by every precious and irreplaceable life gone,” said Biden.
When she finished speaking, Biden was joined by her husband, who said she is “the love of my life and the rock of our family.”
“For all of you across the country, just think of your favorite educator who gave you the confidence to believe in yourself,” said Joe Biden. “That’s the kind of first lady this Jill Biden will be.”