Jill Biden attends tense diplomatic summit

The summit begins Wednesday night in Los Angeles, but Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador and the leaders of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are not at the summit, protesting President Joe Biden’s decision not to include Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua in the talks. The destructive nature of the snub from several US allies has given the administration more headaches, eclipsing the larger purpose of the summit, which the United States has not hosted since its inception in 1994.

However, for the first lady, the show must go on.

Despite a swirl of debate over whether the boycotted summit is a failure before it even starts, Jill Biden will host at least two solo events for the dozen or so spouses of the confirmed 23 heads of state who are attending the three-day meeting. the plan of the leaders of the western hemisphere. Activities have been developed over the past few weeks in coordination with the East Wing, a White House spokesman said.

Biden’s marriage program will showcase elements of Los Angeles culture, and in the process, the first lady will continue the theme she launched during her diplomatic visits last month to Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica: It’s better to be on the right side of the US than the wrong side.

In San Jose, Costa Rica, before returning to Washington and after meetings with the country’s president, Biden was confident that her time as an emissary in a region of the world ripened with political strife and economic uncertainty had served its purpose. .

“All the countries I visited said they would [at the Summit of the Americas. I’m looking forward to it,” she said at the time.

Biden’s confidence, even as calls for boycotts of the summit grew louder, came on the heels of her remarks in each country’s capital city centered on the benefits of a healthy partnership with the US. Unlike Vice President Kamala Harris’ message of “do not come [to the United States]”, which she bluntly stated during her visit to Mexico and Guatemala last June, Biden’s tone was closer to “stay where you are and reap the benefits of relations with the United States.” , and promises of American support.

“Alone, you can’t do much,” Biden said during a speech attended by President Guillermo Lasso at the presidential palace. Lasso and his wife will be at the top.

“The First Lady will host a program for the couple attending the summit to get together and get to know each other,” Biden spokesman Michael LaRosa told CNN.

Biden is making diplomatic moves of his own Thursday, hosting a brunch that LaRosa notes will be “by the ocean.” Typically the first lady or spouse of the leader of the host country of the global summits organizes, plans and hosts a series of events to keep the other half of the world leaders busy while their spouses deal with the difficult issues that this particular gathering is sure to raise.

That evening, Biden joins the president at the Getty Villa, a museum overlooking the Pacific Ocean, for a welcome party and dinner for the leaders and their spouses.

Friday will see Biden’s flagship event, lunch at the Disney Concert Hall, with live entertainment featuring the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra and a performance by Torres-Martinez Cahuilla of the Birdsingers, a Native American-inspired storytelling group. indigenous people with rhythmic songs and gourd rattles.

Lunch will be prepared by 10 Los Angeles-based female chefs and restaurateurs as part of the Re:Her program, a national non-profit platform created to help women entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry. The First Lady will make remarks to the assembled couple during lunch, focusing, in LaRosa’s words, on “the interconnectedness of our world, especially America.”

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