Jill Biden to launch Southeast U.S. program reeling in veteran voters

First Lady Jill Biden used her North Carolina campaign stop Monday to launch a new initiative to highlight President Joe Biden’s record of supporting military veterans and their families. 

The First Lady will lead the national organizing program, called Veterans and Military Families for Biden-Harris. Jill Biden held rallies hyping the initiative in Wilmington, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida on Monday. Those states were chosen because they host major military installations and have large populations of active service members and veterans, the Biden campaign said. 

“My father served in World War II as a Navy signalman. And in 2003, our son, Beau, joined the Delaware Army National Guard and served for a year in Iraq,” Jill Biden said in a post on X following her appearance in Wilmington. “We know what it’s like to wait to connect on a lagging phone call from across the world. To smile through another holiday with an empty chair at the table. You are our family. And Joe will always fight for you.”

North Carolina has the third largest military presence in the country and is home to 720,000 veterans, according to Gov. Roy Cooper’s Office. It hosts several major military installations including Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville and Fort Liberty (formerly Fort Bragg) in Fayetteville, which is the location of Joint Special Operations Command. 

The program seeks to underscore legislative accomplishments by the Biden Administration to deliver care and support to veterans and their families, such as passing the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, which enhanced medical care for veterans exposed to burn pits and other harmful substances. 

Biden claims to have delivered over $163 billion in earned benefits to 6.3 million veterans last year alone. He also extended Veterans Administration health care eligibility by up to eight years for veterans exposed to toxins during their service, ensuring comprehensive support for those who served in conflicts from the Vietnam War to the post-9/11 era.

The Biden-Harris campaign plans to hold additional events in other battleground states with large military populations, including in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Flint and Lansing, Michigan; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada; Erie, Harrisburg and Pittston, Pennsylvania; and Nashua, New Hampshire. 

“Our veterans and military families are the brave and the bold — who step forward for all of us. They deserve a commander in chief who respects their bravery and understands personally their sacrifice — not one who denigrates them for being willing to put their lives on the line for our democracy,” Campaign Manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said.Veterans and Military Families for Biden-Harris will help underscore the stark contrast voters will see in November: Donald Trump has no respect for our men and women in uniform, their families, or the freedoms many of them fought to defend, calling fallen soldiers suckers and losers. Joe Biden is a military father who understands the importance of fighting for veterans every day to earn their support at the ballot box.”

The Biden Administration also has emphasized veteran suicide prevention by launching the 988 Veterans Crisis Lifeline and expanding peer counseling programs, the campaign said. 

Veterans and Military Families for Biden-Harris also vowed to hold former President Trump accountable for “putting himself before our democracy and the brave men and women who defend it” and for what it called a “history of disrespecting and undermining veterans and service members.”

“His administration attempted to cut essential benefits for veterans and allowed his associates to exploit the VA for personal gain,” the campaign said of Trump. “Trump called fallen soldiers ‘losers’ and ‘suckers,’ attacked military leaders’ intelligence, and insulted notable veterans like John McCain and George H.W. Bush.”

Trump has denied that in 2018, during a trip to France to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, he called Marines who died at Belleau Wood “suckers” and U.S. soldiers buried elsewhere “losers,” though the anecdote was later confirmed by his former chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps four-star general.




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