Biden makes woman’s day with unexpected phone call

Plane in restricted air space adds excitement to presidential visit this past weekend
June 6, 2022

Story Location:
Rehoboth Beach City Hall
229 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

President Joe Biden and wife Dr. Jill Biden spent the weekend of June 2-5 at their North Shores home, and while the presidential couple had a little excitement of their own Saturday, it was Friday when the president made the day for one of his supporters.

The presidential couple flew into Dover Air Force Base June 2, then took the motorcade south late in the evening. Jill celebrated her 71st birthday June 3.

The president went to Rehoboth Beach Convention Center June 3 to deliver comments on the May job report. Unlike a similar visit to city hall at the same time last year, Secret Service and Rehoboth Beach police officers didn’t allow onlookers to congregate near the exit of the city’s police department driveway or the sidewalk in front of city hall. Instead, they were pushed all the way across Rehoboth Avenue or much farther down the sidewalk on the same side of the street.

The limited access to Biden left some visitors disappointed, but Ruthie Cope got the phone call of a lifetime immediately following the motorcade’s exit from city hall. Cope was standing on the north side of Rehoboth Avenue in front of Just Comfort Shoes holding a painting by Rehoboth artist Sara England. The painting shows the Bidens’ two dogs in front of their North Shores home, with iconic Rehoboth Beach images in the background.

The president noticed the painting, and before he made it the mile back to his home, he was talking to Cope on the phone about it. Cope was understandably excited. She didn’t answer the phone with, “Hello, Mr. President,” instead, she said, “Joe?!”

She could be overheard saying she’d been to all the local book signings for the president and Jill, and that she once ate ice cream with him.

“I talked to Joe. I had a conversation with the president,” said Cope afterward. “He acted like he remembered the time I ate ice cream with him. That’s what makes him such a good person.”

Taking a deep breath and beginning the walk back to England’s Ruff Life shop on Baltimore Avenue, Cope said she was so excited she didn’t know what to do.

“My husband is going to be like, ‘You’re crazy,’” said Cope.

About an hour later, England said she had heard from Cope that the president had spoken with her about the print. It’s No. 1 of 200, she said.

“I was sending good vibes out that he would see it,” said England. “I had hung that up just for him. I was hoping one day he would see it. It’s pretty cool.”

The otherwise perfect-weather weekend for the Bidens was interrupted Saturday when a privately owned aircraft accidentally entered the restricted airspace over Rehoboth Beach. The Bidens were evacuated from their North Shores home and moved to the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company fire house. A report from the Secret Service said ultimately, there was no immediate danger, but beachgoers in the Cape Region did see a fighter jet flying overhead around 1 p.m. It’s unclear how close the private aircraft actually got to Rehoboth – the restricted zone stretches from Dover south to Ocean City and west to the Maryland border.

Gazette reader Pat Rocke submitted some photos of the jet that circled the area.

“We were on a Cape Water Taxi tour of the East End Lighthouse and could see the action from the top of the lighthouse.  We thought it was a courtesy flyover in celebration of the first lady's birthday the day before,” said Rocke in an email June 5.

Scott Becque, who owns a house around the corner from the Bidens, spotted the Bidens a few hours after the emergency evacuation walking on the beach near their North Shores home.

“I guess he needed a beach walk after hanging out in the fire department. Beaches were crowded, but did not faze him,” said Becque in an email June 5.

Following the brief beach visit, the president attended mass Saturday afternoon at St. Edmond Catholic Church on King Charles Avenue. The Bidens flew back to Washington, D.C., in the morning Sunday, June 5.


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