At 7 pm, the First Lady Jill Biden arrived at the home of Harold and Rosy Mills near Lake Butler in Windermere, appearing for what a Demings campaign official called a “women’s issues meet-and-greet that includes local leaders.”
The opulent, waterfront home was equipped with an open bar. On the walls, several television screens were tuned to CNN. The first lady mingled with people in a crowd that included Val Demings.
Amid the backdrop of a setting Florida sun, Demings addressed the group. She thanked the Mills family and joked that she was surprised that they still answered her phone calls.
“When I think about the legislation that is sitting in the Senate waiting for a vote I know that we have some work to do,” Demings said.
She said she wanted to make sure that young women end up having more rights “than I currently have right now.”
She called the first lady “a blessing to our nation” before introducing her.
First Lady Jill Biden spoke expressively about her childhood, saying that her father’s service in World War II, her family’s heritage and her four sisters were instrumental in shaping her upbringing. She mentioned that her parents voted Republican.
She said she came to politics later in life — as in: when she met her husband. “When I first met Joe I felt really kind of out of touch with his world in DC.”
Recalling their first date, Jill shared a new details. “On our first date I remember saying, ‘thank God I voted for him,’” she joked.
In remarks that were very similar to those she delivered in Atlanta on Friday evening, she talked about encountering people who loved and supported her husband, but also people who were hurt and angry.
“When extremists attack rights that the vast majority of Americans support like a woman’s right to choose, or they stand in the way of affordable prescriptions or clean energy, they are letting all Americans down,” said the First Lady Biden.
She then relayed a story she shared last week, about a friend of hers who got pregnant in the late 1960s, when Jill Biden was 17, and had to be declared psychologically unfit before a doctor would end the pregnancy.
“I asked my mom, ‘can she come stay with us?’” She said her mother said “of course she can,” and the two never spoke of it again. Several people in the crowd murmured and nodded their heads as she spoke.
Dobbs v Jackson, the SCOTUS case that overturned Roe v Wade, was “devastating,” she said. “How could we go back to that time?”
Then, Jill Biden took a swipe at Senator Rubio.
“Senator Rubio said that he would support a nationwide ban on abortion with no exceptions. He said that fighting for marriage equality is, and I quote him, a stupid waste of time. Government isn’t a game. There’s no us versus them; no teams to root for or against; just people! People. Americans from all walks of life who deserve hope.”
Jill Biden said Chief Demings “knows that.”
Making a case for Val Demings, the first lady went on to praise her. “She spent her career working for all Floridians and making this community safer. She will fight for legislation that protects your fundamental rights no matter, as she said, your gender, race or zip code; who you love or where you’re from. And we need her in the senate now!”
She pointed out the President had accomplished much – on infrastructure, prescription drug costs and gun safety – with only 50 votes in the Senate: “Just imagine what he could do with Senator Val Demings.”
“It’s not going to be easy. But we know how to win because we’ve done it before. This group is powerful. Never forget that,” she said.
“We need you in this fight too. Because politics isn’t a game. There are no spectators. There’s just too much at stake.”
The First Lady Jill Biden concluded her speech with an exultant prediction: “Val Demings will win.” Then she moved forward to clasp hands with Demings, holding up their arms in a victory gesture.
Tomorrow, Jill Biden will attend the Eagles game in Philadelphia.