First Lady Jill Biden is scheduled to be in Chicago on Tuesday and Wednesday to honor National Hispanic Heritage Month, less than a week after President Joe Biden’s visit to Elk Grove Village to push businesses to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or weekly testing.
The Chicago stops are part of a swing that also includes Kansas City, Kansas and Allentown, Pennsylvania for what the White House said are part of “her series of conversations and listening sessions with the Hispanic community by taking ‘charlas’ on the road.” Charla means chat or conversation in Spanish.
Tuesday afternoon, Jill Biden, with Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., will visit the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St.
On Wednesday morning, Biden will join Garcia and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona for a “charla” at the Arturo Velasquez Institute. The school, at 2800 S. Western Ave., is a satellite campus of the Richard J. Daley College community college.
The museum and institute are in Garcia’s 4th congressional district, whose boundaries were drawn to sweep in the most concentrated Hispanic neighborhoods in Chicago, according to the 2010 Census. Those neighborhoods include Pilsen, Little Village, Logan Square and Humboldt Park.
Biden’s stops this week will mark the first time she will be Chicago as first lady.
In April, Biden made her first visit to Illinois as first lady traveling to Dixon, in the northwest part of the state for an event with Cardona at Sauk Valley Community College.
Biden, a longtime champion of community colleges, is a professor of writing at Northern Virginia Community College.
The Dixon stop was also Cardona’s first in Illinois as a Biden cabinet member. The Puerto Rican Cardona is the first Hispanic secretary of education.
Cardona returned to the Chicago area on Sept. 21 as part of his “back to school” tour where he showcased the achievements of the Walter R. Sundling Junior High School in Palatine; discussed equity issues at Chicago State University on the South Side and, with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy toured the ACCESS Hawthorne Family Health Center in Cicero to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.
WHAT’S WITH BIDEN’S HOSPITAL CALL FOR A “GOOD FRIEND”
It’s a head scratcher, why Joe Biden told this story on himself while in Elk Grove Village on Thursday as he was making the case for companies to have vaccine and testing mandates in a data center being constructed by Clayco, the Chicago-based design and build firm.
Biden talked about what seemed to be how he used his clout to help a pal whose wife was not being treated fast enough in an emergency room.
Biden said he called “a person at an emergency hospital ward in Pennsylvania, because a good friend had called and he had rushed his significant other to the emergency room because she was having trouble breathing, had a high fever, and could not really catch her breath. And they got her into the hospital, but the waiting room was so crowded, things were so backed up, they couldn’t even get her to be seen initially.
“So, because I knew this person, I called. I called the desk, the receiving nurse, and asked what the situation was and has anyone even — and, by the way, I wasn’t complaining because they’re getting the living hell kicked out of them, by the way,” Biden said. “Doctors and nurses, some of them are just — they’re running dry. I really mean it. They’re getting the living hell kicked out of them, and sometimes physically.”
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Biden calling the emergency room by Fox News’ Peter Doocy.
Psaki said Biden was “expressing that hospitals, frontline workers, nurses, doctors in emergency rooms are still seeing and feeling the impact of the number of people who are unvaccinated who are filling beds in emergency rooms, ICUs, and it is preventing, in some cases, people who have other illnesses, who may be seeking treatment, who may be ... — fearful of a heart attack, who — other people who might be going to the emergency room from getting the care that they need.”
Her defense yielded this follow up question from the Fox reporter: “How often does President Biden call around trying to help his friends cut the line?”
Said Psaki, “That certainly was not his intention. He was not trying to do that. He was checking in on a friend.”
And in Chicago — even in Elk Grove Village — we call a presidential call “checking in on a friend” wielding your clout.