The White House has launched a weekly address from President Biden, reviving a presidential tradition that was paused under former President Trump that seeks to offer another tool to advance the administration’s agenda.
The first installment was released Saturday morning on social media, with the president using the opportunity to tout the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package he is trying get pushed through Congress.
“We’re putting together a plan that provides for emergency relief to people who are in desperate need now,” he said in the taped segment. “Everything from mortgage payments to unemployment insurance to rental subsidies to food security for children. It provides for small, medium-sized businesses to be able to open.”
Biden’s inaugural address featured a conversation between the president and a woman identified as Michele Voelkert, 47, who lives in Roseville, Calif., and lost her job at a start-up clothing company due to the pandemic. She had written a letter to Biden to discuss her dismissal, which she said was the first time she’d ever been laid off.
“Working is part of who you are,” Biden says in a clip of the pair’s conversation distributed on social media. “The idea that we think we can keep businesses open and moving and thriving without dealing with this pandemic is just a nonstarter.”
“I admire your sense of responsibility and your desire to work,” he added.
Biden later spoke with Voelkert’s daughter, telling her she should be “very, very proud of your mom.”
Last year, Michele lost her job because of the pandemic. I recently gave her a call to hear her story and discuss how my American Rescue Plan will help families like hers. pic.twitter.com/SAqM2GytPf
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 6, 2021
It is unclear what format the conversations will take moving forward, but not every installment is expected to be the same as the phone call between Biden and Voelkert.
“We expect it to take on a variety of forms,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Friday.
The project is another way for Biden, known for his use of retail politics, to maintain his communication with voters even while the coronavirus pandemic forces Americans to remain indoors and away from one another.
Such a program had been maintained in past presidencies. Trump initially continued the tradition of a weekly address, which started under former President Reagan, but stopped after about six months.
Former President Franklin Roosevelt was the first to make the addresses famous with his fireside chats, and they were later used by former President Carter as well. The addresses became a more regular feature of the presidency starting with former President Clinton in the 1990s and were adopted by former Presidents George. W. Bush and Obama.
Via The Hill