Jill Biden closed out the second night of the Democratic National Convention describing her husband in deeply personal terms as a loving father and supportive husband who rebuilt his family after tragedy — and would now be able to heal a deeply divided country.
Speaking both as an educator who her pursued her own career as Joe Biden worked as a senator in Washington, she spoke of how he raised his sons after the death of his first wife and young daughter in a car accident in 1972 and how they worked together to create their blended family with a sense of determination and resilience. That story culminated on Tuesday night when the former vice president was formally nominated as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States in 2020, an honor he has sought twice before.
She compared the fracture she helped heal in her husband’s family after the death of his first wife and infant daughter, with the emotional hollowness of America in the time of a pandemic.
“How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding,” Jill Biden said. “The same way you make a nation whole: with love and understanding, and with small acts of compassion; with bravery; with unwavering faith.”
She also spoke to the other great tragedy of Joe Biden’s life — the death of his son Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general, from brain cancer in 2015 when Biden was serving as vice president.
“We found that love holds a family together. Love makes us flexible and resilient,” she said. “It allows us to become more than ourselves — together. And though it can’t protect us from the sorrows of life, it gives us refuge — a home.”
Without mentioning President Donald Trump, she argued that the nation needs someone to heal it.
“The burdens we carry 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.”
Biden anchored her speech in an empty classroom, bemoaning the way that the young faces of school kids are now confined to boxes on a computer screen in their virtual lessons.
“This quiet is heavy,” she said, describing anxiety “that echoes down empty hallways.”
But she tried to convey a message of hope about the future.
“Yes, so many classrooms are quiet right now. The playgrounds are still. But if you listen closely, you can hear the sparks of change in the air,” Jill Biden said. “Across the country, educators, parents, first responders — Americans of all walks of life — are putting their shoulders back, fighting for each other. We haven’t given up. We just need leadership worthy of our nation. Worthy of you.”