The incoming first lady joined retired General Lloyd Austin, a dozen volunteers from Operation Gratitude and about a dozen members of the DC National Guard in camouflage packing up boxes of treats for Americans serving overseas during the holidays.
She was asked for her reaction to the news of Hunter Biden’s tax investigation but her staff stepped in front of the pack of reporters to shoo them away. Jill Biden went back to loading boxes, not acknowledging the question.
Hunter Biden revealed on Wednesday that authorities in Delaware are investigating his tax affairs, focused on his extensive – and lucrative – Chinese business dealings that netted him millions. According to Politico, federal prosecutors in Washington and New York are also looking into possible securities fraud and money laundering by the troubled 50-year-old, who has battled drug and alcohol addiction.
Hunter said in a statement that he was unaware of the investigation until Tuesday and expected to be cleared.
Jill Biden refused to answer questions about son Hunter Biden’s tax investigation as she packed care packages for troops
Hunter Biden revealed Wednesday he is under investigation for taxes while James Biden, Joe Biden’s brother, is part of an FBI investigation into a hospital business in Pennsylvania in which he was involved
Jill Biden packed up care packages for troops overseas as part of Operation Gratitude
President-elect Joe Biden’s brother James also is caught up in an FBI investigation into a hospital business in Pennsylvania in which he was involved.
The business, Americore, ran rural hospitals and was raided by agents in January after entering bankruptcy. Politico reported that in the course of their investigation, the FBI has asked about James Biden’s involvement in the business.
He has been described as its ‘principal,’ but has disputed that description and his role is the subject of litigation in at least two states. In one court case he was accused of dropping his brother’s name to drum up business.
Meanwhile, Jill Biden and Lloyd Austin, Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Pentagon, packed socks, candy (jelly beans and Skittles) and coffee to send to the troops. The care packages also contained 10 handwritten letters of gratitude and hand-knitted scarfs from more than 1 million volunteers nationwide.
She acknowledged the difficulty of the upcoming holiday season. Medical experts have advised scaled-back gatherings due to rising cases of COVID.
Biden said that while ‘families can’t be together’ it was important to remember acts of kindness and to do what people can to help those in need, particularly those suffering from food insecurity.
‘If all Americans we commit to an act of kindness toward a military family and, of course, so many people are suffering from food insecurity at this time,’ she said in brief remarks.
Due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 50 million people may experience food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 17 million children, according to Feeding America, the nation’s largest anti-hunger group.
Joe and Jill Biden with Hunter on the night Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election
Jill Biden packed boxes with retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the Biden administration’s choice to be secretary of defense
Jill Biden shows off the socks being shipped to the troops
Charlene Austin joined her husband Lloyd Austin in helping volunteers pack the boxes
Operation Gratitude was packing 20,000 packages to send to the troops
Jill Biden shows Charlene Austin one of the gifts going in the care packages
Jill Biden’s message was similar to one Melania Trump gave on Tuesday when she attended a Toys for Tots event with the Marines.
She encouraged the children to check on their neighbors and make holiday cards for those in nursing homes.
‘Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, many Americans are spending the holidays separated from their loved ones and have to change routines they’ve had for many years,’ Melania Trump said.
‘Remember that small acts of kindness such as calling your friends and neighbors or making holiday cards for a nearby nursing home can go a long way in spreading cheer and helping those struggling with change,’ she added.
Jill Biden, Austin and his wife Charlene spent about an hour at the DC Armory helping pack the
The group wore blue gloves and face masks as they worked down the line of tables to prepare the packages for delivery.
The event was part of a multi-day effort in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles to pack a total of 20,000 packages. It was the last day of packing in DC.
It was Dr. Biden’s first, in-person solo event since the Wilmington victory celebration Nov. 7.
Both Biden and Austin addressed the volunteers when the work was done.
‘God bless you, God bless your families,’ Austin told them.
The incoming first lady touted her husband’s pick to head the military.
‘Did you see the general?,’ she asked reporters covering her visit, holding her arm out to indicate Austin, who was standing more than six feet away from her to stay socially distanced.
President-elect Joe Biden formally unveiled Austin as his nominee to be Defense secretary on Wednesday as several Democratic senators, including Elizabeth Warren, said they won’t vote for a congressional waiver that would let the retired general serve in the post.
The lawmakers are citing concern about maintaining the tradition of a civilian-controlled military and the early opposition indicates a rocky confirmation process lies ahead for Austin, who would be the first black defense secretary if confirmed.
Austin, dressed in a navy blue business suit, addressed the lawmakers’ concern in his remarks on Wednesday at the event in Wilmington.
‘I come to this role now as a civilian leader — with military experience to be sure — but also with a deep appreciation and reverence for the prevailing wisdom of civilian control of our military. I recognize that being a member of the president’s cabinet requires a different perspective and unique responsibilities from a career in uniform,’ the retired four-star Army general said at the event at The Queen Theater in Wilmington.
‘I intend to keep this at the forefront of my mind, and I look forward to surrounding myself with experienced, capable civilian appointees and career civil servants who will enable healthy civil-military relations grounded in meaningful civilian oversight,’ he said.
Retired General Lloyd Austin addressed lawmakers concerns about needing a civilian to control the military in his remarks in Wilmington
President-elect Joe Biden personally vouched for his nominee to lead the Pentagon and asked Congress to approve the waiver so Austin Lloyd could be confirmed
Biden also gave his reassurances that civilian control of the armed forces if a paramount importance.
‘I believe in the importance of civilian control of our military — so does Secretary-designate Austin,’ he said in his introductory remarks.
He also personally vouched for his nominee.
‘I know this man. I know his respect for our Constitution. And I know his respect for our system of government. So, just as they did for Secretary Jim Mattis, I ask that Congress grant a waiver to Secretary-designate Austin,’ the president-elect said.
The founding fathers were deeply skeptical of the United States having a standing army and believed the subordination of the military to a civilian authority was critically important to prevent the emergence of a new form of tyranny or dictatorship.
Biden pointed out the top Pentagon officials will be civilians under his administration.
‘He will be bolstered by strong and empowered civilian senior officials working to shape DoD’s policies and ensure that our defense policies are accountable to the American people,’ the president-elect said of Austin.
‘The civil-military dynamic has been under great stress these past four years, and I know that Secretary-designate Austin will work tirelessly to get it back on track,’ he added.
But Senators Elizabeth Warren, Jon Tester and Richard Blumenthal expressed concern about having a retired general atop the armed services. All of them also voted against a waiver for retired Marine Corps General Jim Mattis, when President Donald Trump nominated him as defense secretary.
‘I have great respect for Gen. Austin. His career has been exemplary, and I look forward to meeting him and talking to him more. But I opposed a waiver for General Mattis, and I will oppose a waiver for General Austin,’ she told CNN.
The other senators echoed her reasoning.
‘I didn’t for Mattis, so I probably wouldn’t for him,’ Tester said.
‘I have the deepest respect and admiration for General Austin,’ Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said. ‘His nomination is exciting and historic. But I believe that a waiver of the seven-year rule would contravene the basic principle that there should be civilian control of a nonpolitical military.’
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has said she will not vote for a waiver for Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Pentagon, joining two other Democratic senators in saying no
Senators Richard Blumenthal (left) and Jon Tester (right) expressed concern about having a retired general atop the traditionally civilian-led military
Austin, a retired four-star Army general, needs a waiver as he retired in 2016 and federal law requires a person to be at least seven years removed from the military.
Biden faced heavy pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus to pick an African American for the position.
He stressed the historic nature of Austin’s nomination when he introduced his nominee.
While Biden has rolled out most of his Cabinet in teams – national security, economic and healthcare – Austin received a solo welcome on Wednesday.
‘He was the first African American general officer to lead an Army Corps in combat. The first African American to command an entire theater of war. And, if confirmed, he will be the first African American to helm the Defense Department — another milestone in his barrier-breaking career of service,’ Biden said.