MAINE, USA — As America celebrates Independence Day, the White House will celebrate America’s “independence” from COVID-19, despite falling short of President Joe Biden’s vaccination goal. Biden and the rest of the first and second families are planning a slew of travel events for the holiday weekend as part of the “America’s Back Together” tour, which celebrates the country’s progress against the virus, the White House said.
Biden will visit Traverse City, Michigan on Saturday as part of the tour before heading back to Washington to host essential works and military families on the South Lawn of the White House for a barbeque.
First Lady Jill Biden will be making stops in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Portland, Maine on Saturday as part of the tour, the White House confirmed in a travel advisory Tuesday night.
According to the White House, the first lady will fly into Portland International Jetport around 1:15 p.m. and then head to an event at a park with Maine Gov. Janet Mills and Rep. Chellie Pingree.
First Lady Jill Biden arrives in Maine
She'll then fly to Portsmouth, where she'll meet with members of the New Hampshire National Guard and their families. In the evening, she's scheduled to attend a "neighborhood barbeque" with N.H. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan.
The first lady visited Bangor for a campaign rally in October, and also made campaign stops in Orono and Blue Hill in September. In March, she visited Concord, N.H., to promote the American Rescue Plan.
Vice President Kamala Harris will be in Nevada and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will be in Utah on Friday, according to the White House.
“America’s back together thanks to the Biden administration’s whole-of-government pandemic response, the countless essential workers and first responders, and the resiliency of the American people,” the White House said in a statement.
Biden had laid out a goal to vaccinate 70% of American adults by the Fourth of July, but that goal won’t be met.
White House officials, while acknowledging they are set to fall short, insist they’re unconcerned. “We don’t see it exactly like something went wrong,” press secretary Jen Psaki said last week, stressing that Americans’ lives are still better off than they were when Biden announced the goal.
As of Tuesday, 66.1% of Americans age 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 57% have been fully vaccinated. Maine reached Biden’s goal weeks ago. According to data from the U.S. CDC, 77.2% of adult Mainers have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
"In typical Maine fashion, we met President Biden's goal 53 days ahead of time," Maine Gov. Janet Mills said. "And then we beat it."
This story will be updated when details of Jill Biden’s trip are released.