US President Joe Biden on Saturday commended Americans for their strength and resilience in the face of the raging Covid-19 pandemic, urging “hope and renewal” during the holiday season.
In his first Christmas address as president, Biden praised “the enormous courage, character, resilience, and resolve in all of you who heal, comfort, teach, and protect and serve in ways big and small”.
“You show there is much to gain in appreciation and gratitude for the gift of time and goodwill we share as we look out for one another,” Biden said in a statement with First Lady Jill Biden.
“Again and again, you show how our differences are precious and our similarities infinite.”
Biden, a devout Catholic, went on, saying that “for the nation, we pray for the promise found in Scripture — of finding light in the darkness, which is also perhaps the most American of things to do.”
With Americans battered by the deadly pandemic and economic hardship exacerbated by record-high inflation, the presidential couple have focused on end-of-year traditions — pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving and decorating the White House for Christmas — to send messages of hope and joy.
But with the country rocked by deep political divisions, even a Christmas Eve greeting turned sour for Biden on Friday, when a man to whom he was wishing a merry Christmas during a video call from the White House, launched at him with an insult that is popular among supporters of Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump.
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