Joe Biden visited historic hardware store W.S. Jenks & Son in Northeast DC’s Trinidad neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon to talk with its owners about the Paycheck Protection Program. Word had spread on social media earlier in the day that police and Secret Service appeared to be shutting down the surrounding blocks. By the time the presidential motorcade rolled up at about 12:15 PM, a small crowd of neighbors had gathered to wave to the President and snap photos.
According to White House pool reports, Biden met with the store’s owners Jerome and Michael Siegel, as well as Mary Anna Ackley, owner of Little Wild Things Farm, which also operates on the property. W.S. Jenks & Son received a PPP loan during the two-week exclusive application window that Biden announced in February for businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Little Wild Things also received the emergency funding.
According to pool reports, Michael Siegel shared with Biden that the PPP loan allowed the store’s most vulnerable employees to stay home while still getting paid. He said Biden was the second President to visit the business, which was founded in 1866, and the first President to visit the current location.
Indeed, Biden is the first President in recent memory, and potentially the first ever, to visit Trinidad, a gentrifying pocket of Ward 5 near Gallaudet University. The current administration’s frequent forays into DC neighborhoods mark a drastic departure from the Trump years.