“[The President] had so many hopes and plans for the things he wanted to do, but every time you turned around, he had to deal with the issues of the moment,” Biden said, speaking to about two dozen attendees at a house. private home on popular vacation island off the coast of Massachusetts.
“He just got thrown so much stuff,” she said. “Who would have ever thought of what happened [with the Supreme Court overturning] Roe versus Wade? Well, maybe we saw it coming, but we still didn’t believe it. Gun violence in this country is absolutely appalling. We did not see war coming in Ukraine.”
Biden said she, too, felt paralyzed in her role as first lady and was unexpectedly pulled in other directions than the course she originally intended.
“I was like, ‘Okay, I was second lady. I worked in community colleges. I’ve worked on military families. I worked on cancer. They were supposed to be my areas of interest, but when we had [in the White House,] I had to be, with everything that was going on, the first lady of the moment.”
The first lady shared her frustration over last month’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, who ended the federal constitutional right to abortion. Biden added that while she supports the right to protest, being angry at the decision, in her view, is not enough – contradicting the president’s remarks last week, where he encouraged women to “keep protesting”, adding that protesting is “crucially important”. “
Biden said she told her own family members they should think about doing more than protest.
“So many young girls, including my own grandchildren, have gone to the Supreme Court and marched. I’m like, ‘Okay, good for you. But what are you going to do next? You feel good about yourself because you’ve spoken your mind, but what are you going to do next? What’s your plan?'”
The White House has acknowledged that the path to restoring abortion rights is narrow and, for now, undetermined.
Biden also criticized Congress during his remarks, blaming Republicans for the administration’s stalled agenda. Joe Biden’s sweeping Build Back Better plan – which would have widened the country’s social safety net – received its final blow this week when West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, rejected any climate or tax provisions in The law project. In a tightly divided Senate, Democrats needed Manchin’s support to pass the legislation along party lines in a process called budget reconciliation, which requires all 50 members of the Democratic caucus to agree to push the legislation forward.
“I know there are so many non-sayers who say we’re going to be criticized midterm. Okay. Republicans work hard, they stick together, for good or for bad. So, we just have to work harder,” she said. .
Saturday’s event marked the second DNC fundraiser the first lady has attended during a two-day stay in Massachusetts. On Thursday, she made the remarks, mostly focused on political action, at a private event in Andover.
CNN’s Jasmine Wright contributed to this report.