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Jill Biden on President Joe Biden’s stunted progress: ‘He had so much hope’

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The first lady said at the event in Nantucket, Massachusetts, that her husband was constantly challenged by unexpected crises while in office, blaming global woes. Biden’s comments came as the president’s approval rating stands at 33% according to a recent poll by the New York Times and Siena College, which also noted that only 13% of Americans say the country is moving in the right direction.

“[The President] had so many hopes and plans for things he wanted to do, but every time you turned around he had to deal with the problems of the moment,” Biden said, speaking to about two dozen attendees at a private residence on the popular vacation island near the United States. coast of Massachusetts.

Biden also announced she expects to meet Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska next week, whom she last met in May during an unannounced trip to Ukraine. She has not expanded the agenda for her upcoming meeting and CNN has reached out to Biden’s office for more details.
On the domestic front, Biden noted gun violence, the momentous Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, and the war in Ukraine as problems the president had not foreseen.

“He just got so many things in his way,” she said. “Who would have ever thought about what happened? [with the Supreme Court overturning] Roe to Wade? Well, maybe we saw it coming, but still we didn’t believe it. The gun violence in this country is absolutely appalling. We didn’t see the war in Ukraine coming.”

Biden said she, too, felt paralyzed in her role as first lady and unexpectedly swung in other directions from the course she had originally intended.

“I said to myself, ‘Okay, I was second lady. I worked on community colleges. I worked on military families. I worked on cancer.’ They were supposed to be my focus areas, but when we… [in the White House,] With everything that happened, I had to be the first lady of the moment.”

The first lady shared her frustration at last month’s destruction of Roe v. Wade, which ended the federal constitutional right to abortion. Biden added that while she supported the right to protest, in her opinion being angry about the decision is not enough — contradicting the president’s comments last week, where he encouraged women to “keep protesting,” adding that protesting is “critical”. “

Biden said she told her own relatives to think about more than protesting.

“So many young girls, including my own grandchildren, went to the Supreme Court and marched. I say, ‘Okay, good for you. But what are you going to do now? you do now? What’s your plan?'”

The White House has acknowledged that the path forward to restore abortion rights is narrow and at present undetermined.

Biden also criticized Congress during her remarks, blaming Republicans for the administration’s stalled agenda. Joe Biden’s sweeping Build Back Better plan — which would have expanded the country’s social safety net — took its final blow this week when West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, decided to include climate or tax provisions in the bill. rejected. In a closely divided Senate, Democrats needed Manchin’s support to pass legislation along party lines in a process called fiscal reconciliation, which requires all 50 members of the Democratic caucus to agree to advance legislation.

“I know there are so many naysayers who say we’re going to take a hit in the meantime. Okay. The Republicans work hard, they stick together, for good or evil. So we just have to work harder,” she said. .

Saturday’s event marked the second DNC fundraiser the first lady has attended on a two-day swing to Massachusetts. On Thursday, she made comments, mostly aimed at political action, at a private event in Andover.

CNN’s Jasmine Wright contributed to this report.

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