Bidens make unannounced visit to Washington DC children’s hospital

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Despite surging Omicron cases of the coronavirus in the US, Joe and Jill Biden made an unannounced joint visit to a children’s hospital in Washington DC on Christmas Eve.

The US president’s visit to Children’s National Hospital was a surprise for patients and staff, the White House reported, and was believed to be the first visit to the institution by a sitting president.

Barack Obama made a holiday visit to the hospital in 2018, almost two years after he’d left office.

Pictures on Friday showed the first couple with young patients, everyone wearing face masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Children at the hospital were making paper lanterns and some read the Bidens their Christmas wish lists.

“You’re bringing us some joy,” Biden told the patients, and he also thanked medical staff.

First ladies traditionally visit the hospital around the Christmas holiday, dating back to first lady Bess Truman during the post-second world war presidency of Harry Truman, and includes reading a book to patients, the White House reported.

Jill Biden, a community college educator, sat by the Christmas tree and also read aloud to children at the hospital.

The book was Olaf’s Night Before Christmas, based on the Disney musical Frozen. Joe Biden joked that he reads the story at bedtime, alongside his presidential briefing papers.

The president also knelt to speak to a young boy sitting in a wheelchair and one girl explained to the Bidens that she has been a patient at the hospital for a month and a half.

Both Joe and Jill Biden gave accounts to children of the new “first puppy” who has come to live at the White House – Commander, a German shepherd dog, following the death of the Bidens’ old dog, Champ, and the removal of their younger dog, Major, following biting incidents.

Joe Biden showed a child a picture of the dog on his phone and Jill Biden told a patient the puppy had eaten one of her slippers that morning.

The White House reporting pool had earlier reported observing Commander being exercised on the south lawn in Christmas Eve sunshine.