Jill Biden delivered a personal and emotional convention speech on Tuesday night from the hallways of her former classroom, promising that her husband, Joe Biden, would provide “leadership worthy of our nation” if he’s elected as president in November.
Biden delivered the keynote address during the second night of the Democratic National Convention from Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Delaware, where she taught English from 1991 to 1993, after her husband was formally nominated as the Democratic presidential nominee.
In a speech centered around family and education, Biden recalled the personal losses that her husband experienced in 1972, when his wife and daughter were killed in a car crash, and in 2015, when their son Beau died of brain cancer.
“How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole,” she said. “With love and understanding — and with small acts of kindness. With bravery. With unwavering faith. You show up for each other, in big ways and small ones, again and again.”
“It’s what so many of you are doing right now for your loved ones, for complete strangers, for your communities,” she continued. “There are those that want to tell us that our country is hopelessly divided, that our differences are irreconcilable. But that’s not what I’ve seen over these past few months.”
The educator, who holds a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware, has become a prominent surrogate on the campaign trail as her husband makes a third pitch to become president.
She emphasized the importance of education in her remarks, painting her husband as the candidate with the character and experience to meet the duel economic and health crises staring down the nation.
Biden, who worked as a full-time professor at Northern Virginia Community College for her eight years in the Obama administration when she served as second lady, described how the pandemic has affected classrooms (“the quiet is heavy,” she said), families and the economy since it began in mid-March.
But she pledged that if Biden defeats incumbent President Trump in three months, classrooms — many of which are empty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic — will “ring out with laughter and possibility once again.”
“The burdens we carried are heavy. And we need someone with strong shoulders,” she said. “I know that if we entrust this nation to Joe, he will do for your family what he did for ours: Bring us together and make us whole. Carry us forward in our time of need. Keep the promise of America for all of us.”