CARBIS BAY, UNITED KINGDOM (AFP) – US First Lady Jill Biden struck an inclusive tone on Thursday (June 10), in her choice of words and clothing, as she accompanied her husband President Joe Biden on his first foreign tour.
The 70-year-old made a clear statement by wearing a jacket with the word “LOVE” on the back, as the couple met British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie on the eve of the Group of 7 (G-7) leaders’ summit.
The first lady’s eye-catching move was guaranteed to draw comparisons with her predecessor, Melania Trump, who cut a stylish but often distant figure in the role.
During a trip to a migrant child detention centre in 2018 she infamously wore a jacket emblazoned with the slogan: “I really don’t care, do u?”
Aides for Donald Trump’s ex-model wife initially claimed it was “just a jacket” but the ex-first lady later admitted it was intended as a message “for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticising me”.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, shortly after posing for the media alongside her husband and the Johnsons in Cornwall, south-west England, Jill Biden said she too was now making a statement.
“I think that we’re bringing love from America,” she said, when asked about the jacket.
“This is a global conference and we are trying to bring unity across the globe.
“I think it’s needed right now, that people feel a sense of unity from all the countries and feel a sense hope after this year of the pandemic.”
Jill Biden’s candid comments also contrast with Melania Trump, who rarely spoke at any length in public and even less so in unscripted situations.
The current first lady flew into Britain late on Wednesday, with Joe Biden announcing “The United States is back!” as he sought to reset diplomatic ties after the isolationism of the Trump era.
While their husbands held their first face-to-face talks as leaders, Jill Biden had tea with the British premier’s new wife Carrie Johnson, who is making her debut in the global diplomatic spotlight.
The 33-year-old married the twice-divorced Johnson, 56, just last month in a scaled-down ceremony due to the pandemic arranged in secret.
Following this weekend’s summit, the Bidens will meet Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor, before heading on to Europe for further meetings.
“Joe and I are both looking forward to meeting the Queen,” Jill Biden said.
“That’s an exciting part of the visit for us. We’ve looked forward to this for weeks and now it’s finally here. It’s a beautiful beginning.”