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First lady says she’s ‘all in’ on Biden re-election bid as party members call for replacement

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First lady Jill Biden said Monday she’s “all in” on her husband, the commander-in-chief’s re-election campaign. 

During a campaign event to address veterans and military families in Wilmington, North Carolina, the first lady said President Biden had always supported her career. 

“As commander-in-chief, President Biden wakes up every morning ready to work for you. That’s what this election is all about. You. For all the talk out there about this race, Joe has made it clear that he’s all in,” Jill Biden said to chants of “four more years.” 

“Thanks! That’s a decision that he’s made. And just as he has always supported my career, I am all in too!” she added. 

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Joe Biden speaks while First Lady Jill looks on

First lady Jill Biden looks on as President Biden speaks to supporters and volunteers during a campaign stop at a Biden-Harris campaign office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on July 7, 2024. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The first lady was to announce the formation of Veterans and Military Families for Biden-Harris during stops Monday in Wilmington, as well as Tampa, Florida, and Columbus, Georgia. The states have large populations of veterans and military families.

Her daylong tour is part of the Biden campaign’s broader effort to rebound from the president’s halting performance against Trump in last month’s debate, which led a handful of House Democrats and others to call on Biden to end his campaign because they no longer believe the 81-year-old president is mentally and physically capable of defeating former President Trump in November’s election.

Biden has insisted, during public appearances since the June 27 debate, that he is staying in the race. 

His campaign manager, Julie Chávez Rodríguez, said the new group will work to engage and mobilize millions of veterans and military families in the U.S. to vote for a second Biden term.

In Wilmington, the first lady cited a report that Trump, during a 2018 trip to France, referred to service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice as “suckers” and “losers.” 

Joe and Jill Biden get off Air Force One

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden disembark Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Sunday, July 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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“With four more years, Joe will continue to fight for you, the military community that he … that we are humble and proud to call our own. My dad, my father, served in World War II as a Navy signalman. And in 2003, our son Beau joined the Delaware Army National Guard and then served for a year in Iraq. This is personal to us,” she said. 

“We know what it’s like to wait to connect with a live phone call from across the world, to smile through another holiday with an empty chair at the table,” the first lady continued. “Let me ask you this – does Donald Trump know what it’s like? He describes himself as a sacrifice for this country. His own chief of staff said he called POWs and those who died in war losers and suckers.” 

Joe and Jill Biden on White House lawn

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, July 7, 2024, after returning from Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Trump denied having made the comments. 

Also at the debate, Biden made the stunning omission of the 13 U.S. service members killed during the Afghanistan withdrawal, claiming, “Truth is I’m the only president this century that doesn’t have any – this decade – that didn’t have any troops dying anywhere in the world, like [President Trump] did.”

The first lady framed the withdrawal more positively Monday. 

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“[Biden] made the call to end the war in Afghanistan because the sacrifice of our military families was too steep for too long,” she said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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