Press: Ice cream’s back — thank you, Joe!

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On the official schedule, it was just another vaccination push. On Tuesday, July 6, first lady Jill Biden jetted to Savannah, Ga., in yet one more valiant attempt to convince Americans not yet vaccinated to step up and do the right thing. Yet it’s what was not on the official schedule that made news.

On her way back to the airport, the first lady made a surprise stop at the Green Truck Pub, a tiny eatery known for making everything by hand, including ketchup, pimento cheese, veggie patties — and its famous pecan pie. That’s what lured in Jill Biden. She went home with a box of them.

We know the first lady’s not alone in sneaking away for a snack while conducting official White House business. She’s only following the lead of the president himself, who’d combined an official visit to Michigan on July 3 to promote his administration’s infrastructure deal with a stop at the King Orchard Farm in Central Lake, Mich., to walk away with — what else? — a cherry pie.

And, of course, Joe Biden’s as famous for his love of ice cream as he is for his sporty aviator sunglasses. “It’s never too cold for ice cream or too dark for aviator glasses,” Biden once quipped. Indeed, as senator or vice president, and now as president, it seems like Biden’s never driven past an ice cream stop without detouring to sample the offerings. Within the last few weeks, in Cleveland, La Crosse, Wis.; Durham, N.C.; and Crystal Lake, Ill. He ended his trip to Michigan at Moomers Homemade Ice Cream in Traverse City with two scoops of vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips in a waffle cone.

Conservative news outlets, as well as Donald Trump himself, are apoplectic about positive media coverage of Biden’s ice cream choices. The National Review, the New York Post, and the Washington Times have all accused White House reporters of paying more attention to what flavor of ice cream he orders (and how many scoops) than to what Biden’s going to do about Russian hacking.

Which is pure nonsense. Reporters never leave any ice cream stop without also seizing the opportunity to pepper Biden for the latest “scoop” on public policy. And presidential food favorites have always been a staple of White House reporting: squirrel soup for James Garfield; fried chicken for Harry Truman; baked grits and cheese for Jimmy Carter; and burnt steak slathered in ketchup for Donald Trump. Yuck!

Such grumping misses the point. Which is this. Shout it from the headlines: ICE CREAM IS BACK! Pie is back! Sweets are back! Dessert is back! Next time you’re out for dinner and your server asks “Did you save room for dessert,” you no longer have to look guilty and mutter “Oh, no, of course not.” You can look her proudly in the eye and say: “Hell, yeah. What kind of pie and ice cream do you have?”

What a refreshing change from the stern admonitions about “eating healthy” we heard from first lady Michelle Obama. Not that Obama’s wrong. It is important to cut the carbs and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. But you can only eat so many vegetables before getting bored. Michelle Obama once noted that her favorites snacks were “nuts, veggies and humus, and Ezekiel toast with almond butter.”

Sorry, but I’d rather have a chocolate milk shake. And now I can. If the Biden administration achieves nothing else, it’s already succeeded in redeeming America’s sweet tooth. Thank you, Joe and Jill.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”

Tags Chocolate ice cream Desserts Donald Trump Jill Biden Jimmy Carter Joe Biden Michelle Obama

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