Joe and Jill Biden make annual visit to children's hospital ahead of Christmas

 December 24, 2023

President Joe Biden, accompanied by first lady Jill Biden, partook in a customary pre-Christmas visit to Children’s National Hospital in Washington to connect with young patients and their families.

During the visit, the first lady engaged the children with a reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," while the president warmly interacted with the children and their relatives, offering smiles and waves.

The tradition

Expressing gratitude to the hospital staff for their dedicated service, President Biden also encouraged both the young patients and their parents to "keep the faith."

As part of an 81-year annual tradition initiated by first lady Bess Truman, presidents' wives have brought holiday cheer to children facing health challenges.

President Biden, continuing this tradition, has joined his wife in visiting Children’s National during the holiday season for the past three years.

The details

The Bidens continued a longstanding holiday tradition with the visit to Children’s National Hospital in Washington on Friday, where they interacted with pediatric patients, families, and hospital staff.

Wearing masks, the first couple greeted leadership and emergency department workers. Dr. Biden engaged with the children by reading "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats, expressing gratitude for the opportunity.

The president, in his characteristic style, shared a reassuring message with parents in the room before departing, emphasizing strength and optimism during challenging times.

The context

This visit, occurring amid extreme cold weather in Washington, aligns with the Bidens' commitment to fostering holiday cheer for young patients.

The timing, just ahead of Christmas Eve, follows the president's recent Christmas address, where he conveyed a unifying message, highlighting progress against COVID-19 and encouraging acts of kindness during the festive season.

Despite acknowledging the challenges some may face, Biden emphasized the resilience of the American spirit and the significance of spreading kindness during the holidays.

The Bidens' visit to Children’s National Hospital showcased a warm and compassionate interaction with young patients, underscoring the administration's commitment to bringing holiday joy to those facing health challenges. The president's involvement in the longstanding tradition reflects a continuity of efforts initiated by previous first ladies, highlighting the importance of compassion and empathy during the festive season.

As the Bidens prepare to spend Christmas at Camp David, their visit to Children’s National Hospital serves as a poignant reminder of the administration's commitment to compassion, empathy, and fostering a sense of hope during the holiday season.

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