First Lady Pool Reports of July 24, 2021 (Japan)
Pool Reports by Nikki Schwab, Daily Mail
|July 24, 2021
FLOTUS Pool Report No. 1 - overview of Saturday
It's Saturday morning in Tokyo and your pool is gathered at the U.S. ambassador's residence awaiting Dr. Biden's first event, which will take place at noon local time. We will be with her today for two events at the residence and then she will be heading into the Olympics sans pool this afternoon. We depart later tonight for Honolulu, Hawaii.
The East Wing sends this along about the first event:
Spaces on the Embassy Tokyo housing compound and at the Chief of Mission Residence are being dedicated in honor of U.S. citizens who have made significant contributions to the U.S.-Japan relationship. The First Lady will be unveiling the newly named Irene Hirano Inouye and Daniel K. Inouye Room in the Chief of Mission Residence.
|July 24, 2021
FLOTUS Pool Report No. 2 - Inouye Room dedication
First lady Jill Biden entered the same large room at the ambassador's residence as she spoke to Team USA yesterday at 11:54 a.m. She's wearing a white dress, white mask, powder blue blazer, strings of pearls and white shoes with a floral design. Co-pooler Kate Bennett of CNN says the shoes are Dior.
She's here to dedicate the Irene Hirano Inouye and Daniel K. Inouye Room in the Chief of Mission Residence. It's a bedroom on the second floor. I sent the attendees – both in-person and on Zoom – in the last report. Biden came to the podium and asked if it was OK for her to remove her mask. She then did.
"This moment really is very special to me," Biden said. "My husband truly loved Danny Inouye."
She said the room was being dedicated to the late couple, "For their remarkable contributions to the United States and Japan."
"Irene dedicated her life lifting up women, especially those of Japanese descent. And not just by words, but by action," Biden said, adding that Mrs. Inouye "lifted Asian-American women out of what she called 'invisibility,'"
"She was a pretty special woman," Biden added.
The first lady then quoted Maya Angelou.
She then turned to Daniel Inouye noting that he served the U.S. Army in World War II and became one of the first U.S. House members to represent Hawaii.
"He was a mentor to my husband Joe, but more importantly he was a true friend, whose kindness really knows no bounds," Biden said.
"If at the end of life, you have five friends that you can count … you're really a lucky person," the first lady continued.
"I think that Danny Inouye, I know Danny Inouye, would be one of them," she said of her husband's relationship with the late senator.
"So on behalf of the president it is my pleasure to dedicate this room," she said.
Biden then briefly lost track of her mask as she moved over to help removed a covering from a framed dedication for the room.
At 12:02 p.m. the ceremony concluded, but the first lady stuck around for pictures.
She then listened as the Inouyes' children – Jennifer Hirano and Ken Inouye – joining the event virtually, talked about their late parents.
Ken Inouye will be greeting the first lady in Honolulu.
Dr. Biden said some final words to the in-person participants and left the room at 12:11 p.m.
|July 24, 2021
FLOTUS Pool Report No. 3 - embassy watch party
For her second event at the U.S. ambassador's residence Saturday, FLOTUS is headlining a United States vs. Mexico women's softball game watch party with embassy staff.
We're again gathered in the great hall of the Chief of Mission's Residence. Some attendees are wearing American flag face masks. One woman has on a headband with large red stars attached to it. Attendees are all wearing masks. Chairs, in sets of two, are spread out around the large, ornate room. There's a large television screen in the front of the room, showing the U.S. seal (the eagle), which is where the game will be viewed. About 50 foreign service officers are attending and they were chosen through a lottery in order to come.
Dr. Biden entered at 2:05 p.m. "You don't have to be so quiet," she said as she walked in. The room had been incredibly quiet.
The first lady did a costume change. She's now wearing an American flag top, white pants that say USA down the right leg and a Navy blazer – which looks to be the official Team USA Ralph Lauren blazer. She's also wearing sneakers that have blue and red stripes.
"I'm really excited for this game aren't you? As you can see I'm all decked out," she said, adding that she felt like a kid on the first day of school. (I'll send the full quote later.)
"This job can be challenging in the best of times. In the past few years we can see how fragile diplomacy can be," she told the audience.
She spoke about how family members have picked up and moved around the world for their spouses careers.
"Guess what I understand that," she said. "For the spouses and the children here, thank you for your service as well."
Speaking about COVID-19 protocols she said, "I feel so terrible that we can't offer you food – and a glass of wine – but they said no." Attendees are to keep masks on throughout the watch party.
"When I look at all of you, I feel so much hope. Through turmoil and uncertainty you've never let go of your passion for this work," she said.
"America is leading the world once again because you all, you all are forging the way," she continued.
"We're going to show the world what the United States can achieve when we are guided by heart and hope and diplomacy. OR as my husband has said, we lead by the power of our example, not the example of our power," Biden said.
The first lady's official remarks concluded at 2:13 p.m.
"Is this my seat here?" she said as she sat down to watch the game.
Pool is now watching the first lady watch the game.
|July 24, 2021
FLOTUS Pool Report No. 4 - more color/quotes from embassy watch party
Pool was pulled from the great hall at 2:29 p.m.
She was introduced by the new Charge d'Affaires ad interim Raymond Greene.
At 2:24 p.m. the audience rose for the national anthem.
Here's the fun quote about the Ralph Lauren outfit: "As I walk down the hallway, I feel like a new kid – a kid on the first day of school. You know how you have all your new clothes, but you didn't wash them, so these jeans are so stiff. So, note to self."
Pool later spotted an aide carrying a Ralph Lauren clothing bag.
"I want to thank all of our diplomats and civil servants and members of the military and your families, for all that you do to represent the United States in Tokyo. And if we've learned anything during this past year, it's that really, we're all connected to one another. And, you know, it's how a virus can move through the world undeterred by borders and treaties and change our lives."
"And we've seen that the things that really connect us, like the love of competition or music or stories and the desire to protect the people we love, really transcend language and difference. And diplomacy, at its best, is a recognition of that connection."
"And you have worked tirelessly to keep the U.S.-Japan alliance strong. And you kept your commitments even as the world struggles through a global pandemic. And it hasn't been easy. And that's true for the family members, who have picked up their lives – so many of you have picked up your lives and moved across the world alongside of you."
"It's passion and that's why you move your life."
"And guess what – I understand that."
"And let me say how grateful I am for all that you've done to help me be here today."
"I know how much goes into visits like these, especially with COVID. I mean, I feel so terrible that we can't offer you food – and a glass of wine – but they said, no, no one will be taking off their masks."
"I'm honored, I'm really honored to be with you and I'm really grateful that you made this all possible."
Again, pool is not accompanying the first lady into the Olympics this afternoon. You'll be hearing from me tonight when we depart for Hawaii.
|July 25, 2021
FLOTUS Pool Report No. 5 - Yokota departure
Dr. Biden's motorcade pulled up to the tarmac of the Yokota Air Base at 11:45 p.m. She's still wearing her Team USA outfit from earlier.
Biden stopped briefly to talk to Raymond Greene, wearing his red team USA shirt, and another greeter.
She waved at the pool at the bottom and top of the stairs.
She boarded Executive One Foxtrot at 11:48 p.m.
We'll be wheels up to Honolulu, Hawaii shortly.
Jill Biden, First Lady Pool Reports of July 24, 2021 (Japan) Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/336612