(CNN)President Joe Biden will take to the Rose Garden on Friday for the first time as president, celebrating passage of his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief measure as the kickoff to a weeks-long sales effort to promote his debut legislative victory.
He will be surrounded by Democrats who helped secure the measure’s success, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. No Republicans voted for it.
Like his prime-time address to the nation a day earlier, Biden’s maiden outing in the Rose Garden will frame him in a distinctly presidential light, the white columns and windows of the West Wing providing a familiar backdrop for signings and celebrations.
Until now, Biden has mostly held events in the State Dining Room, the smaller of the two main rooms inside the Executive Mansion, or the South Court Auditorium, a distinctly workaday space with no cell phone reception in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
The grander scale of the White House Cross Hall, with its red carpet and lines of flags, was a more stately setting for his first evening address on Thursday. Biden traversed the length of the hall after doors were thrust open at the other end, an exactly 30-second walk to the podium.
In the Rose Garden, Biden will be returning to a venue that carries a wealth of memories.
It was his predecessor’s favorite place to deliver remarks, an easy 10 steps from the Oval Office to convene reporters for unwieldy press conferences. President Donald Trump was said by aides to prefer the natural lighting. His wife, first lady Melania Trump, oversaw a redesign of the Rose Garden to add paved walkways and dedicated space for television equipment.
Biden himself last stood near a podium there on November 9, 2016, joining then-President Barack Obama for a morning statement after Trump had won the presidency.
The colonnade lining the garden was stacked with downtrodden Obama staffers, shellshocked at the prospect of a President Trump.
“The path that this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag, and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back. And that’s OK,” Obama said then.
“I’ve lost elections before,” he went on, turning back to look at Biden, who was standing nearby. “Joe hasn’t.”
Biden blessed himself as the crowd of staffers laughed, somewhat ruefully.
Eight months earlier, Biden stood alongside Obama in the Rose Garden as he nominated Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court. Republicans blocked the nomination and Trump filled the seat. After four years, Biden named Garland to serve as his attorney general. He was confirmed this week and began his work at the Justice Department on Thursday.
In October 2015, it was again in the Rose Garden that Biden announced he would not seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination after considering it for months. Reporters were summoned at a moment’s notice to set up for the surprise announcement, which Biden made with his wife, Jill, and Obama by his side.
“Mr. President, thank you for lending me the Rose Garden for a minute,” he told Obama as they stepped into the sun.
“It’s a pretty nice place,” Obama replied.
Biden went on to announce that, after months of agonizing following his son’s death, he had decided he had run out of time to run for president.
What followed was a 15-minute speech laying out what he might have said if he had run, including indirect jabs at the candidate whose nomination he seemed to have ushered in: Hillary Clinton.