WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, visited Children’s National Hospital on the Friday before Christmas to visit patients and read a story.
Sitting in front of a towering Christmas tree, the president helped hold the book while the first lady read “The Snowy Day,” an award-winning story about a boy named Peter and his adventures in the snow. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the book, written by Ezra Jack Keats.
Jill Biden noted that Washington “had a little, tiny bit of snow” on Friday as temperatures plunged. “Has anyone seen it?” she asked.
When the story mentioned Peter and the snow angels, she asked how many patients had already made them. “I loved doing that,” she said.
At the end of the reading, the first lady said, “Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all. Thank you for coming and listening to me read and asking the president to hold the book.
“It’s my job,” he added.
Biden and his wife also met privately with pediatric patients and their families. The White House also thanked the doctors, nurses and staff, including at the hospital’s cardiac intensive care unit.
Jill Biden’s visit continued an 80-year-old annual tradition dating back to Bess Truman’s first ladies bringing holiday cheer to children who are too sick to be home at Christmas. President Biden joined his wife last year, making the first visit by a sitting president.
Kurt Newman, the hospital’s president and CEO, said he asked the president last year to come back this year and exclaimed, “Look, he did!”
“It’s so important to all of our families, our children and our staff because there have been a lot of challenges,” Newman said of the visit. “We look forward to seeing you next year.”
Before leaving, the president told parents in the audience to “be strong”. He said his family also spent a lot of time in children’s hospitals. “It’s going to be okay,” Biden said.
The Huffington Gt