WASHINGTON — A small troop of diehard Joe Biden supporters received a surprise at a rally on Tuesday when the vice president himself sauntered from his motorcade to greet the crowd.
About two dozen people had converged around the vice presidential residence to show their appreciation for Biden. Some missed work and class to celebrate the outgoing vice president, and were rewarded when Biden dazzled the crowd with an off-the-cuff speech.
“It has been the honor of my life serving, I really mean that,” he said amid loud cheers and chants. “And, you know, look, there’s still a lot more that has to be done. Look, we got to give this other administration a chance too, okay? So, this is the way democracy works.”
Biden’s short, encouraging speech was more than most attendees had anticipated.
“I honestly had no clue, it was a total surprise,” said Kathryn Kohn, a 19-year-old American University student. “Earlier, the Secret Service came out, and I was like ‘Oh, well, maybe, that’d be nice.’ And then he shows up and it’s like, ‘That’s the guy, there he is. That’s No. 1 – the guy we love.’”
The gathering, dubbed “Thank you, Uncle Joe,” emerged from Democrats’ frustration and disappointment in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential election victory. The event’s chief organizer, Erick Sanchez, said he wanted to honor the Obama administration’s accomplishments rather than mourn the election results.
“[Joe Biden] deserves a lot of credit for the decades of public service that he gave to our country,” said Sanchez, 31. “And we’re all out here right now, and we’re energized and just so proud of him. We’re really just here to celebrate his achievements.”
Many people at the rally said they just needed something to be excited about after Nov. 8. So they canceled their plans and joined the gathering to applaud the aviator-wearing, ice cream-loving vice president.
“A lot of people are shocked and saddened by the election outcome, and I just felt like I needed something uplifting,” said Pamela Lessard, a resident of Arlington, Virginia, who moved around her morning schedule to be at the rally. “I knew this would be a happy event.”