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First Lady visits Traverse City, reaffirms Biden is running

First lady Jill Biden gives remarks before the opening of a new campaign office at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City.
Lauren Rice
WCMU / Traverse City Record-Eagle
First lady Jill Biden gives remarks before the opening of a new campaign office at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City.

A plane carrying first lady Jill Biden touched down at Cherry Capital Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

Her first stop was the opening of a new coordinated campaign office in Traverse City, intended to combine the efforts of the Biden-Harris campaign and the Michigan Democrats. It’s the 45th of its kind in the state, dedicated to training and mobilizing volunteers.

“We are officially opening this campaign center,” Jill Biden said. “Thank you for all of your hard work and support.”

A woman in the crowd fainted partway through Biden’s remarks. Several people speculated that it was the summer heat in the room crowded with over 100 people.

Emergency services were called, Biden held a moment of silent prayer for her well-being, then continued her remarks. Several minutes later EMS brought the woman out on a stretcher. She was sitting up and looked awake and aware.

Biden confirmed that her husband is not done campaigning yet, despite recent speculation following a shaky performance in his first debate with former Republican President Donald Trump.

“Joe is the Democratic nominee and he is going to beat Donald Trump, just like he did in 2020,” she said.

But just outside were roughly a dozen protesters, one with a sign reading “Step Aside Joe!”

Eric Wagner, a visitor from Indiana, was at Jill Biden’s next stop, King Orchards in Antrim County.

“Age is still a big concern for us,” Wagner said, referring to his family there with him. “Both of these candidates are pushing into their 80s. I’ll still vote for Biden but there’s still so much uncertainty.”

The Michigan GOP responded to Jill Biden's visit with a release calling the first lady the “real President Biden.”

“At least today the lack of explanation for the Democrats’ failed policies is purposeful and not a sign of obvious cognitive decline,” it read.

John King, owner of King Orchards, said he’s glad the First Lady came to visit and still supports President Biden.

“It’s wonderful that she’s here,” he said. “She was here prior when Joe was campaigning, but it was COVID times and we couldn’t come within 12 feet of her or shake her hand.”

Previously, King said the campaign found his orchard because of a video his son Michael made about environmental concerns that impact cherry farms like theirs.

“He got the attention of the Biden campaign,” he said. “Now it seems like we’re a familiar stop.”

Lisa Miller and Amy Curtis were at King Orchards, and said they were happily surprised to see the First Lady show up on their hunt for strawberry cider.

As a librarian and teacher, respectively, they agreed that they’d like to hear more about teacher shortages and the education system in general.

“We grew up in this area, we’re always interested in learning what she has to say about education,” Miller said, and referenced the first lady’s experience in teaching.

“The right to read, the ability to read is important to take care of,” Curtis said.

Michael Livingston reports for IPR from the tip-of-the-mitt – mainly covering Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties.