The White House announced on Tuesday that first lady Jill Biden will head to Tokyo, Japan later this month to head the American delegation to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Summer Games for 2021 in place of President Joe Biden, as The Hill reports.
Mrs. Biden’s husband will remain stateside during her travels, and as Breitbart noted, that is owing to the significant health precautions being put in place ahead of the games, including the prohibition against athletes from using public transportation once they arrive in the region and the ban on fans in the stands at event venues – including at the opening ceremony.
“We wanted a full stadium so community people could get involved in welcoming the athletes so we could have a full presentation of the power of sports,” said Japan Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto, according to The Hill. “However, now faced with COVID-19 we have no other choice but to hold the games in a limited way, she added.
The Associated Press reported on Thursday that new coronavirus cases in Tokyo have reached a six-month high, a fact that is causing alarm over the possible impact on the hospital system so close to the Olympic games. As such, the city is under its fourth state of emergency in which bars and restaurants must close early and are forbidden from serving alcohol during the international event.
Breitbart also noted separately that according to Yomiuiri Shimbun, while she is in Japan for the Olympic opening ceremony, Jill Biden will hold a meeting with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as well as other high-level Japanese diplomatic officials.
This first lady has been a notably visible one, often standing by her husband’s side at major events and press interviews to, as some suspect, keep him from committing the sorts of egregious faux pas for which he is well-known, such as steering him away from a wrong turn – and potential reporter questioning – on a restaurant patio during the G7 summit earlier this year.
Back in February, during an interview with Spanish-language broadcast network Univision in which President Biden had difficulty articulating the difference between migrant detention centers operated during the prior administration and those still in operation on his watch, Jill Biden forcefully swooped in and interjected with her own explanation of administration policy.
Other attempts by Mrs. Biden to assist with official outreach have raised eyebrows as well, with an April visit to a pop-up vaccination site largely serving Spanish-speaking farmworkers having been widely panned over the first lady’s mangling of the phrase “Si se puede,” or “Yes we can.”
Noting that perhaps this first lady is not the ideal representative to push forward as the public face of the administration, either at home or abroad, author Nick Adams commented at the time, “Watching Jill Biden botch basic Spanish makes me miss Melania Trump, an extraordinary first lady who is fluent in five languages.” Assuredly, he is not the only one to harbor that sentiment.