The US first lady has made a powerful single-word statement as she touched down in Britain with husband President Joe Biden ahead of this weekend’s G7 summit.
As she and her husband met British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie on Thursday (local time), Jill Biden wore a black jacket emblazoned with the word “love”.
“We’re bringing love from America,” Dr Biden said.
“This is a global conference and we are trying to bring unity across the globe and I think it’s needed right now, that people feel a sense of unity from all the countries and feel a sense hope after this year of the pandemic.”
Dr Biden wore the same jacket at the beginning of her husband’s presidential campaign more than two years ago.
Her glittery message of unity drew a rapid comparison to a sartorial statement by Dr Biden’s predecessor, Melania Trump, in 2018, with some even asserting it was an intentional dig.
As reported by The New Daily at the time, Ms Trump infamously wore a $52 cargo green parka from Zara that read: “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” on a trip to a Texas detention centre for migrant kids.
She reportedly didn’t wear the coat while meeting incarcerated children. Nonetheless, photos of her graffitied back while embarking and returning from Washington sent the media into frenzy.
The move sparked intense scrutiny, perhaps made worse by then-president Donald Trump’s explanation that it was a message directed at the “fake news media”.
“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2018
In response to the backlash, Ms Trump’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, slapped down the president’s explanation with assurances that the jacket held, “no hidden message”.
It is not the first time Dr Biden has opted for a wardrobe with a direct message.
Once, on the presidential campaign trail, she wore black skinny jeans with the word “vote” written down each leg.
Mr Biden will meet other leaders – including Prime Minister Scott Morrison – at this weekend’s Group of Seven summit in Cornwall. But the event also involves obligations for leaders’ partners.
According to a thread of tweets from Dr Biden’s communications director, Elizabeth Alexander, the US first lady has a full schedule and will have ample opportunities to spread that “love from America”.
She has already had tea and a walk on the beach with Mr Johnson’s new wife, Carrie, and spoken to families of military veterans.
An “exciting part of the visit” will come on Sunday (British time), when the Bidens will meet the Queen at Windsor Castle. There are also whispers the first lady will meet Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge – although neither Buckingham Palace nor the White House will confirm that.
Mr Biden is also making an impression on his first overseas trip as President.
A proud Dr Biden said on Thursday that foreign policy was her husband’s “forte” and he had been “studying for weeks”.
It seems to have paid off so far, with Mr Johnson describing him as “a breath of fresh air”.
Mr Biden is also expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin while abroad.