Jill Biden stops in Bay Area to stump for her husband
Democratic presidential candidate, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden participate in a campaign kickoff rally, May 18, 2019 in Philadelphia. (Chuck Kennedy for Biden 2020)

A small crowd of eager donors crammed into a Fremont home on Saturday night for a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden, days after the Democratic presidential hopeful’s campaign was overshadowed by reports that President Donald Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the Biden family — a charge that’s now led to an impeachment inquiry.

But on Saturday night, the turmoil of Washington politics wasn’t on Dr. Jill Biden’s mind as she spoke to a roomful of elite Bay Area voters about her husband’s campaign and lifelong work as a public servant.

“You want a president that we can be proud of, a president who brings people together— instead of tearing families apart,” said Biden. “A president who believes that our best days are ahead of us. That’s my husband, Joe Biden. And that’s the future I want. And I think that’s the future you want too. And that’s why we’re all here today.”

Shifting from her political pitch, Biden also shared an emotional story about her faith and overcoming the passing of her son, Beau Biden.

The audience grew quiet as Biden expressed the hardship that she experienced, and why in difficult moments it’s important to push forward. She spoke about being on the campaign trail and people urging her to convince her husband to run for president, especially during such a tumultuous time in the country’s history.

The power of a story, she said, is vital in shaping a person’s identity.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about stories, and the stories we tell really shape our identity and they can isolate us, and they can make us afraid,” Biden said. “They can make us angry or even inspire violence — the kind of violence that we’ve seen again and again. But our stories can really rise up to kindness as well. They can remind us that our differences are precious and that our similarities infinite — that our community, our country, is capable of beautiful and powerful things.”

The fundraiser Saturday, which was the second day Biden stumped in the Bay Area while her husband campaigned in Las Vegas, was hosted at the Fremont home of Ajay and Vinita Bhutoria.

On Friday, about 50 supporters crowded inside San Francisco’s “Manny’s” cafe to hear from Biden, according to ABC 7 news. She also stopped by a private fundraiser in Los Altos Hills that afternoon to meet with a group of tech entrepreneurs and educators.

The former second lady of the United States on Saturday was introduced by the hosts’ son, who said he’s eager to see Joe Biden win the presidency and “succeed in the battle for the soul of the nation.”

“Joe Biden is running for president to help restore the soul of this great nation, to rebuild the backbone of the United States, to unify the country,” Bhutoria said. “Along with his experience, stability, measured analysis and response, Vice President Biden will additionally bring the dignified leadership at home and a respected leadership on the world stage.”

Biden jokingly asked Bhutoria’s son if he had political aspirations, drawing chuckles from the crowd.

Biden didn’t discuss the impeachment inquiry or its impact on her husband’s campaign, a topic on the minds of most Democratic insiders and political observers. She wrapped up her brief appearance by thanking donors and calling on them to share their support with their friends and community.

“There are people who are just like you all over this country who have decided to show up, who refuse to be discouraged, refuse to be cynical, who keep believing with all their hearts that your voices matter, that we can change things, that our hope is not lost,” added Biden. “And we deserve those same values in our leaders as well.”

Contact Nadia Lopez at nadia@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @n_llopez on Twitter.

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