First Lady Jill Biden celebrates Valentine’s Day by decorating White House lawn with hearts

Large red, pink and white heart-shaped signs covered with words: “Healing,” “Compassion” and “Hope” dot the White House lawn.

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Heart-shape signs with Valentine messages are on display on the North Lawn of the White House February 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. The office of first lady Jill Biden set up the Valentine messages to the country overnight to mark Valentine’s Day.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden is burnishing her reputation for springing jolly surprises: Before dawn on Friday, she helped decorate the North Lawn of the White House for Valentine’s Day with candy-heart sentiments as a message of hope and healing for Americans.

Then, in another surprise, she and President Joe Biden and their two German shepherds, Champ and Major, went for an unscheduled stroll to view the array of large red, pink and white heart-shaped signs covered with words: “Healing,” “Compassion” and “Hope.” The two, wearing masks, chatted with a trailing, shivering pool of reporters and C-SPAN crew.

One of the hearts on the lawn was signed, “Love, Jill.”

The president, dressed in old jeans and a black leather jacket with a presidential patch and clutching a coffee cup, said Valentine’s Day is his wife’s favorite day. They joked about which one loves the other more and kept an eye on their dogs while chatting with reporters.

Jill Biden, dressed in a long raspberry coat and black boots, said she knows many Americans are feeling “a little down” amid the coronavirus pandemic, so she wanted to do something to bring “a little joy, a little hope.”

Her office issued a statement to USA TODAY early Friday morning from her spokesman, Michael LaRosa.

“As you may know, the first lady is known for her sense of humor, love of surprises, and celebrating traditions, especially with her family,” the statement said. “Valentine’s Day has always been one of her favorite holidays. Sending messages of healing, unity, hope and compassion, this is her Valentine to the country.”

During the informal gaggle, the president delighted in an anecdote, telling reporters that his first year as vice president his wife decorated a window in his White House office with a drawn heart that said, “Joe loves Jill.” 

“Not Jill loves Joe,” he cracked. He said he once joshed to an interviewer that “everybody knows I love her more than she loves me!” 

When a reporter asked how to extend their love story to Americans in the midst of pandemic misery, the president said, ”Tell them, there is hope, there is hope, just have to stay strong.”

“We hope this lifted your spirits,” the first lady said.

Shortly before they went inside, the president was asked his thoughts on the Senate trial. He said he was “anxious” to see what his Republican “friends” would do but declined to say whether he thought Trump should be convicted. 

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