Aug 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

How Jill Biden changes the classroom reopening conversation

Joe Biden "surprised" Dr. Jill Biden after her speech in a classroom at Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Democratic National Convention via Reuters

In Dr. Jill Biden's speech from a classroom where she once taught, she took on the issue of reopening schools safely, acknowledging the yearning many families have for a return to learning.

Why it matters: This could help scramble President Trump's message that Republicans want to open while Democrats want to stay shut. Jill Biden wants to open, too, but it has to be safe.

Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Del., gave her a vehicle to talk to parents everywhere who are worrying about how to protect their kids.

  • "This quiet is heavy," she said with a flag and empty desks in the background. "You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways."

Jill Biden invoked themes of healing a family hit by tragedy, hoping they translate to Joe Biden healing the nation.

  • "How do you make a broken family whole?" she said. "The same way you make a broken nation whole: With love and understanding, small acts of kindness, with bravery, with unwavering faith."

Jill Biden's humanizing appearance could help inoculate her husband from some GOP attacks.

  • She talked about "rowdy Sunday dinners" and "silly arguments."
  • And nights when she was "studying for grad school, grading papers under the pale yellow kitchen lamp, the dinner dishes waiting in the sink."

Managing editor David Nather contributed reporting.

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