Biden spoke to
‘Keep the faith,’ Biden told Voelkert, of Roseville, who lost her job at a California clothing company Stitch Fix last summer.
‘I was laid off in July. My company had reorganized because of COVID,’ she told Biden in their one-on-one call – which was captured on
President Joe Biden launched a new feature to communicate ‘directly’ with Americans by phoning a California woman who lost her job last summer
‘It’s the first time I’ve been laid off in my life,’ she told the president. ‘On Facebook I connect with others who are going through the same thing.’
‘I admire your sense of responsibility to desire to work,’ Biden told her.
The weekly format allows Biden the chance to share his trademark empathy with struggling Americans – even after coronavirus restrictions have kept him from wading into crowds like he did during the early part of his campaign.
The call went out on the White House Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and Instagram. It was backed by a soft musical soundtrack, and showed the president seated at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.
‘The President will be speaking to those affected by the pandemic regularly,’ according to the White House. It was not immediately known how long the exchange took for the cut-down two-and-a-half minute video.
Biden was willing to put aside one bit of guidance from health officials by flying to his Wilmington home Super Bowl weekend to watch the game with his family and pick up some things for his new residence at the White House. He was at his Delaware home when the video got released.
The California woman, identified only as ‘Michele,’ lost her job in July
Biden recalled what he said his father told him about the importance of a job
‘It’s just been a tough time as far as trying to find work,’ she told him. In the edited conversation, Michele expressed gratitude Biden was focusing on the pandemic.
‘I’ve been saying a long time the idea that we think we will keep businesses open and moving and thriving without dealing with this pandemic is just a non-starter,’ he told her.
He repeated a campaign refrain about advice from his father, who had to uproot the family after losing a job during Biden’s youth. ‘Working is just part of who you are. my dad used to say jobs about a lot more to paycheck, … It’s about respect, it’s about your place in the community,’ Biden told her.
The zoom-era call provides a new twist on another presidential tradition dating back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s radio address and the weekly speeches filed by a skein of presidents since. They rarely make big news, but offer a way to presidents to communicate by going around the filter of the press.
‘We’re putting together a plan that provides for emergency relief to people in desperate need now, with everything from mortgage payments to unemployment insurance to rental subsidies to food security for children and supervised for small and medium sized businesses to be open,’ Biden said, a day after the House and Senate passed a budget resolution allowing him to move his $1.9 trillion relief plan even without Republican votes.
‘I think we’re gonna get 100 million shots, in the next 100 days in people’s arms,’ Biden said, touting a vaccine goal that some experts are already saying needs to be made even more ambitious in light of new virus variants.
There was a bright spot for Michelle, whose daughter also got to chat with the new president.
‘I finally got my parents in appointment they’re getting their vaccines today,’ she told him. ‘Oh, great. Great, great, great, Biden told her. The president himself got his second vaccine dose before taking office.
According to the White House, the call is ‘a new effort for the President to regularly communicate directly with the American people.’
It says Michelle lives in Roseville, California and lost her job at a start-up clothing store.