ROSEVILLE (AP/CBS13) — President Joe Biden gave a pep talk to a Roseville woman who was laid off because of the pandemic, during a conversation the White House said is part of an effort to help him engage more consistently with regular Americans.
The White House on Saturday released a two-and-a-half-minute video of Biden’s long-distance telephone conversation with Michele Voelkert, identifying her only as Michele.READ MORE: Deputies Seize Tons Of Packed And Ready To Be Shipped Pot From Illegal Operation Near Keyes
After losing her job at a startup clothing company in July, Voelkert wrote Biden a letter. He read it, then called her.
Voelkert told Biden “it’s been a tough time” trying to find work.
Biden, who spoke from his Oval Office desk, replied that his father used to say a job is about dignity and respect as much as it is about a paycheck. He described his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, which calls for $1,400 payments to people like Voelkert, and other economic aid for individuals and small businesses. There’s also money to help distribute coronavirus vaccines.
“I’ve been saying a long time, the idea that we think we can keep businesses open and moving and thriving without dealing with this pandemic is just a nonstarter,” Biden said.READ MORE: Crews Work Quickly To Stop Modesto Garage Fire From Spreading
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The conversation is part of an effort to help Biden, who has largely limited his travel because of the pandemic, communicate directly with Americans, the White House said. Biden did fly to Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday to spend the weekend at home with his family.
“There is a time-honored tradition in the country of hearing from the president in this way,” press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday in previewing the video. She referenced Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” and Ronald Reagan’s establishment of a weekly radio address.
The radio address eventually grew to include a video version seen over the internet. The practice, however, lapsed under former President Donald Trump.MORE NEWS: 'Fire Hose' Of Subtropical Moisture Bearing Down On Northern California
Biden’s weekly address will be produced in a variety of forms, Psaki said.