President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will go on the road next week to pitch the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package Mr. Biden signed on Thursday.
In what the White House has dubbed the “Help is Here” tour, either the president, the vice president or their spouses are expected to be on the road nearly every day next week. The stops will mark the first public events outside of the Washington, D.C. area for everyone except the president, who has already made trips to Texas and Michigan during his first days in office.
Mr. Biden delivered his first prime-time address on Thursday night, paying tribute to the over 500,000 American lives losts to the COVID-19 virus in the year since the World Health Organization named the deadly virus a pandemic. Mr. Biden also announced the start of a nationwide public relations tour to laude his first major legislative achievement, signing the American Rescue Plan into law.
“In the coming weeks and months I’ll be traveling along with the First Lady, the Vice President, the Second Gentleman and members of my cabinet to speak directly to you. To tell you the truth about how the American Rescue Plan meets the moment,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden plans to begin traveling Tuesday with a trip to Delaware County, Pennsylvania. First lady Jill Biden is also expected to stay east, making a trip to Burlington, New Jersey, on Monday. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff will travel back to the West Coast, stopping in Las Vegas on Monday and Denver on Tuesday. Emhoff will remain out west and make a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Wednesday.
Finally at the end of next week, the president and vice president will travel together to Atlanta.
During Thursday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the four principals are “eager to get out there on the road.” And she foreshadowed more travel from other members of the Biden administration.
“It was important to the President to visit not just blue states, but also red states, purple states. You will see that reflected as we continue to announce travel and trips that he will take in the coming weeks.” Psaki said. Mr. Biden, she said, is “looking forward to having the senior members of the — the principals from the administration out across the country — fanning out across the country, which is exactly what they’re doing.”
To some, this audacious approach of selling the plan can be seen as a lesson learned from the Obama presidency. Then-President Obama did not take as bold of a public relations approach when implementing his own recovery act in 2009 that bailed out some of the major banks, though the bill did not provide stimulus checks.
Though details of what type of events the four principals will participate in or who they will speak with are unknown, the White House has given some hints that the trips might reach across party lines.
Speaking about some of the Republican local elected officials, Psaki said, “they will be open, many of them, to engaging with the president, the vice president, the first lady, the second gentleman, where there’s an opportunity to talk about the benefits and communicate to their communities about how people can access these benefits.”