The White House is reviving a long tradition of weekly presidential addresses to the nation
President Joe Biden spoke by phone to a California resident who lost her job because of the coronavirus pandemic and gave her words of encouragement. According to the White House, such conversations between the president and ordinary Americans will become regular from now on and will help the executive branch better interact with the people.
The White House press office released a 2.5-minute video Saturday in which President Biden spoke by phone from the Oval Office with Michelle Voelkert, who wrote a letter to the head of state after she lost her job at a clothing startup last July.
After reading Michelle’s letter, Biden decided to call her.
The woman, who lives in Roseville, California, spoke to Biden about the difficulty of finding a new job.
Biden recalled that his father had always told him that a job should be associated not only with a paycheck, but also with dignity and respect. He told Michelle about the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, which includes $1,400 payments to people like Michelle Voelkert and other assistance for individuals and small businesses. Some of the money will go toward distributing the coronavirus vaccine.
“I’ve been saying for a long time that the idea that we can keep businesses in this country open and moving forward and thriving without fighting this pandemic is just not feasible,” Biden said.
A Sacramento Bee correspondent contacted the 47-year-old Voelkert after her conversation with the president.
“It was an incredible opportunity,” she said, “I’m still thrilled.
According to the White House, the talk was the beginning of a new tradition that will allow the president to communicate directly with Americans at a time when his travels around the country are largely limited because of the pandemic. Biden flew from Washington, D.C., to Wilmington, Delaware, Friday night to spend the weekend at home with his family.
“There is a long tradition in the country of listening to the president speak this way,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday, referring to “fireside chats” that took place during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency and Ronald Reagan’s weekly radio addresses to Americans. The radio address has now been transformed into a video version that can be viewed online.
Psaki said that Biden’s weekly address to the country will be released in different formats.