June 17, 2024

The first lady is now stepping into this delicate soup of diplomacy. It’s just over a year since Vice President Harris’s first foreign trip, to Guatemala and Mexico, earned her criticism for her sharp words to prospective migrants: “Do not come.”

Jill Biden, though, has brought a deft touch to relationship-building as first lady. On her early-May trip into Ukraine, she visited a school with first lady Olena Zelenska, who had been in hiding since the Russian invasion began in February. On Tuesday, she joined the president in Buffalo, to meet with survivors and families of victims of the racially motivated mass shooting at a Tops supermarket. Her trip to the Tokyo Olympics, while Japan was shut down to outsiders because of coronavirus concerns, combined a bilateral visit with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga with images of Biden in empty stands, decked out in red, white, and blue, as a one-woman cheering squad for Team USA — whose members couldn’t even have their family members there.

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