Jill Biden visits in Salt Lake City, says Joe can beat Trump, help McAdams

(Charlie Neibergall | AP file photo) Jill Biden speaks after her husband, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, during a bus tour stop, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Mason City, Iowa.

Former second lady and aspiring first lady Jill Biden visited with donors in Salt Lake City on Sunday night, promoting her husband as the candidate who can recapture the White House and help other Democrats.

Biden singled out Rep. Ben McAdams, the only Democrat representing Utah in Congress and who won election in 2018 by fewer than 700 votes, as someone who can be helped if the party’s presidential nominee is former Vice President Joe Biden.

“If we hope to get Congressman McAdams reelected,” Jill Biden said, “and I know that that's critical for all of us, we need to make sure that the nominee at the top of the ticket [is someone] that every Democrat can run with; not run away from.”

Jill Biden promoted her husband as a uniter who can defeat President Donald Trump in a general election. She gave the 40 or so people in attendance three reasons to explain their support of Joe Biden to others.

• He has a broad coalition that includes independent voters.

• He can win the swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Florida.

• His vision is “bold and progressive” but also “achievable.”

“There are a lot of good Democrats who are running for office,” she said, “but Joe has the best chance of beating Donald Trump.”

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, as part of the MUSE (My U Signature Experience) Project, a university presidential initiative meant to enrich undergraduate education across the U.

The former second lady visited donors in Denver earlier in the day. Sunday evening, she arrived at University of Utah’s law school and a banquet hall on the sixth floor. The hosts were Meg and Jim Holbrook. Meg is a former chairwoman of the Utah Democratic Party. Jim is a law professor at the U. The invitation listed attendance prices at $250 to $2,800.

Other notable attendees included Salt Lake County Councilman Jim Bradley, state Sen. Derek Kitchen, state Rep. Patrice Arent, state Sen. Karen Mayne and former state Sen. Scott Howell. Guests could snack from a buffet of hors d’oeuvres and drink from a bar.

“We live in a very volatile time in our history,” Meg Holbrook said in introducing Jill Biden. “It’s a very volatile time in the world and a very volatile administration. So very, very thankful that Joe Biden is running for president.”

Jill Biden said she knows it’s not easy being a Democrat in a conservative state such as Utah.

“But in a lot of ways,” she said, “I think that it's people like you who really understand what's at stake in this election really better than anyone else.”

When she talked about the time she and her husband have already spent on the campaign trail, she mentioned their son Beau Biden, who died of cancer in 2015.

“After our son Beau died, I felt betrayed by my faith, abandoned,” said Jill Biden. “And my minister would write me emails occasionally saying, you know, ‘Jill, where are you? Come back to the service.' But I just couldn’t go. I couldn’t even pray.”

Then while sitting in a pew at a Sunday service with her husband this summer on the campaign trail, a woman kneeled beside her and asked if she could be her prayer partner.

“Her kindness opened up something inside of me that morning,” Jill Biden said. “It’s as if God was saying to me, ‘OK, Jill. It’s been long enough. It’s time to come home.’”

Jill Biden addressed the room for about 15 minutes. Near the end, she offered the audience a vision of a United States under a President Joe Biden.

“You pick up the morning paper and the headline isn’t about some late night tweet storm,” she said, in a reference to Trump. “Instead, it’s about our children, our American children who are going to benefit from universal pre-K or you’re going to be reading about how families finally have a path out of homelessness because they can get emergency relief, and we’re creating more affordable housing.

“And then, if you’re like us, we always turn on the morning television to get the news to kind of prepare yourself for the day. And the anchors aren’t talking about how we’re on the brink of some ill-advised war. Instead, they’re talking about how we’re going to build on the Affordable Care Act with a public option and bringing down prescription drug prices.”

Utah’s Democratic primary is March 3.

Return to Story