Incoming first lady Jill Biden names staff, signals military support on agenda

Maria Puente, USA TODAY
·2 min read

Jill Biden is already sending signals about one of the issues high on her to-do list when she becomes the next first lady of the United States next week.

On Thursday, she announced additional members of her staff in the Office of the First Lady, indicating she intends to keep a campaign promise to revive a support program for military families that she once led with former first lady Michelle Obama.

Among the personnel she's hired, Biden named Rory Brosius, 37, as the incoming executive director of Joining Forces, the program Biden and Obama founded as a joint project to help service members, veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors.

Brosius, formerly the deputy director of Joining Forces, is on President-elect Joe Biden's transition team and was a senior adviser to Jill Biden during the campaign.

Both first lady Michelle Obama and second lady Jill Biden nail preppy chic in cropped pants during an event at the Capital Area Food Bank on April 29, 2009 in Washington.
Both first lady Michelle Obama and second lady Jill Biden nail preppy chic in cropped pants during an event at the Capital Area Food Bank on April 29, 2009 in Washington.

"Military families still needed support," Brosius told The Associated Press in a telephone interview before she was to join Biden for a virtual listening session with organizations that support military families.

"We'll be spending the next few months listening and learning," said Brosius, the wife of a Marine Corps veteran. The community supported by Joining Forces "is the community that I'm part of."

Biden also named other new staff members, including press secretary Michael LaRosa and deputy social secretary Liz Hart.

In a statement, Biden said her East Wing staff will bring "a shared commitment to building an administration that lifts up all Americans."

Jill Biden speaks during a Drive-In Rally at Heinz Field in Pittsburg, Pa., on Nov. 2, 2020.
Jill Biden speaks during a Drive-In Rally at Heinz Field in Pittsburg, Pa., on Nov. 2, 2020.

"Together, we will work to open the White House in new, inclusive and innovative ways, reflecting more fully the distinct beauty of all our communities, cultures and traditions," Biden said.

Obama and Biden, then the second lady as the wife of then-Vice President Biden, launched Joining Forces in 2011 to encourage members of the public and the private sector to find ways to support service members, veterans, their families and their caregivers. The program focused on education, employment and wellness.

Biden's late son, Beau Biden, served in the Delaware Army National Guard. After leaving the White House in 2017, the incoming first lady continued her work with military families through the Biden Foundation.

The Trump administration focused on veterans and the military, with President Donald Trump increasing the military budget during his term. Outgoing first lady Melania Trump and Karen Pence, the wife of vice president Mike Pence, also worked on military family support issues, but without the banner of Joining Forces.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jill Biden names more FLOTUS staff, signals military support