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‘We will continue to fight’: First lady Jill Biden is Vogue’s latest cover star

<i>Norman Jean Roy/Courtesy Vogue via CNN Newsource</i><br/>“We don't need more chaos
Norman Jean Roy/Courtesy Vogue via CNN Newsource
“We don't need more chaos

By Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

(CNN) — First lady Dr. Jill Biden is Vogue’s August cover star just as election season is kicking off in earnest in the United States — and only days after President Joe Biden’s shaky first debate performance rattled the Democratic party.

On the cover — her second for the fashion magazine — Dr. Biden appears in a cream-colored Ralph Lauren silk tuxedo dress, lensed by the veteran fashion photographer Norman Jean Roy. The accompanying profile, by Maya Singer, was written pre-debate, as the Vogue writer shadowed FLOTUS during two April campaign stops in Minnesota: one to speak to the coalition Women for Biden-Harris in Minneapolis, and another to speak to Educators for Biden-Harris.

“We are the first generation in half a century to give our daughters a country with fewer rights than we had,” she said in her speech at the first event, according to Vogue. “Book bans. Voting laws gutted. Court decisions that strip away our most basic freedoms. But circumstance is not destiny. … When our bodies are on the line, when our daughters’ futures are at stake, when our country and its freedom hang in the balance, we are immovable and unstoppable.”

Following the first presidential debate by President Biden and former President Trump, which was moderated by CNN on June 27, Biden advisers told CNN that his family continued their steadfast support in his bid for reelection.

Vogue, too, reached out to the first lady following the debate amid calls for the president to step down as the Democratic nominee. She told the magazine that they “will not let those 90 minutes define the four years he’s been president. We will continue to fight.”

Over those past four years, Biden has stepped into her role as FLOTUS with a hands-on approach. Earlier this year, the White House announced her new, critical initiative to fund research into a range of women’s health issues that have been vastly understudied, from endometriosis to heart disease. As an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College, she’s been an advocate for increased funding for in-school help for students particularly as the Covid-19 pandemic strained school systems and left gaps in education. And, as she told Vogue, she’s seen the career-related frustrations of military spouses due to the often transient nature of their lives, so she has supported flexibility for remote work for some government jobs.

“Really, in so many different areas, I tell him what I’m seeing, what I’m hearing, and he gets it,” she said of her husband. “And this is where the magic happens.”

The first lady’s sleeves-rolled-up approach is often reflected in her wardrobe. She favors a polished but practical style, from power suits and classic trenches to clothes with simple messaging (like her embellished “love” jacket at the G7 summit that drew contrasts to her predecessor’s infamous “I really don’t care, do u?” fashion statement). She places emphasis on American designers, often wearing pieces by Sergio Hudson, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren. Following up on the periwinkle blue suit she wore at the presidential debate, she wore a black dress with white lettering by Christian Siriano at a North Carolina rally the next morning meant to re-energize voters. Her choice of garment conveyed her point loud and clear: “Vote,” it repeated all over.

However the political path forward unfolds, the first lady is sure to be key to the president’s decisions. In Vogue’s cover story, political journalist and author Katie Rogers noted that Dr. Biden is often not counted as one of the president’s key advisers, but that she’s “his gut check and closest confidant.”

In the interview, the first lady struck a hopeful chord, but warned against the polarization that has split the country. “We don’t need more chaos,” she said. “Fundamentally, Americans care about each other. And this anger and animosity and divisiveness… it’s not who we are. We’re good people.”

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