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Hillary Clinton joins Jill Biden at White House

 September 13, 2023

Hillary Clinton made her first public appearance at the White House since the Obama era, joining first lady Jill Biden to introduce the recipients of a prestigious Japanese arts award.

Clinton, herself a former first lady, joined Mrs. Biden at the White House on Tuesday. The occasion marked the introduction of the recipients of the Praemium Imperiale, a respected Japanese award for exceptional contributions to the arts, as MSN reported.

Two first ladies share stage

It was an event that brought Clinton back into the spotlight within the walls of the White House for the first time since the end of the Obama administration.

The audience, comprised of personalities from the Clinton era as well as several celebrities, welcomed her with resounding applause.

Jill Biden remarked:

Secretary Clinton, Hillary, it's an honor to welcome you back to the White House. Wow, you are so loved. Your lifetime of work has left an indelible mark on this country. Thank you for always doing all the good you can by all the means you can in all the ways you can.

Recognizing artistic achievement

The Praemium Imperiale, administered annually by the Japan Arts Association, recognizes achievements in five arts categories: music, theater/film, painting, sculpture, and architecture.

In attendance to receive their honors were trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, painter Vija Celmins, and theater director Robert Wilson.

Other recipients, including sculptor Olafur Eliasson and architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, were not present.

An official ceremony in Tokyo next month will further acknowledge all five laureates.

Clinton’s involvement in the Praemium Imperiale

Notably, Clinton isn't just an observer to these awards.

As the U.S. adviser to the Praemium Imperiale, she plays a role in selecting the recipients. This isn't the first time the Clintons have been involved with the award; in 1994, then-President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton hosted a similar event.

On the essence of the award, Jill Biden conveyed:

The artists being honored invite us to join a conversation with the world, to step beyond the limits of our imagination. The arts invigorate and strengthen democracy. At a time when so much is changing...it's so important for us to recognize the critical role that the arts play in helping us understand our past and present while inspiring us to create a better future.

Clinton’s history with the White House

Hillary Clinton’s presence evoked memories of her long and multifaceted association with the White House.

From her initial years grappling with media scrutiny as first lady to her later roles as a U.S. senator and secretary of State, Clinton's journey has been storied and complex.

Lisa Caputo, Clinton’s former White House press secretary, reflected:

I have to imagine she’s really looking forward to being back and being back with the Bidens, who she’s been close to for a long time.

Indeed, Mrs. Clinton's relationship with the White House spans several decades.

Her initial visits date back to the late 1970s and early 1990s when she accompanied her husband, then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.

Twice presidential contender

Clinton aspired to occupy the top position in the White House herself, running for president in 2008 and 2016.

Despite coming close, she never clinched the title of Madam President. Following her 2016 loss, she distanced herself from the White House during Trump's tenure.

Returning to such a significant place is undeniably poignant. Historian Ellen Fitzpatrick commented on the emotion tied to such returns, referencing Jacqueline Kennedy’s nostalgic visit with her children after JFK's assassination.

Clinton’s White House legacy

Clinton's tenure at the White House was marked with both trials and triumphs.

Whether facing public scrutiny over personal and political matters or leading significant initiatives, her journey has been a blend of challenges and achievements.

She once reflected on her White House years in her memoir, Living History saying:

My eight years in the White House tested my faith and political beliefs, my marriage and our nation’s Constitution.

Despite the hurdles, Clinton's journey from first lady to a significant political figure remains emblematic of her resilience and dedication.

Conclusion

  • Hillary Clinton returned to the White House for the first time since the Obama administration.
  • Joined by Jill Biden, they introduced the recipients of the Praemium Imperiale, a Japanese arts award.
  • Clinton has a long-standing association with the award and serves as its U.S. adviser.
  • The event underscored the importance of the arts in society and democracy.
  • Clinton's relationship with the White House spans several roles and decades, marking her return as especially poignant.