First lady Jill Biden installs Valentine's Day hearts on White House lawn

First lady Jill Biden has a valentine for the American people: giant pink, white and red hearts bearing calls for "unity," "hope" and "love" installed early Friday on the North Lawn of the White House.

"I just wanted some joy," the first lady told reporters during a surprise visit to the lawn with President Joe Biden and their two German shepherds, Champ and Major. "I think things have been so — with the pandemic — everybody’s feeling a little down, so it’s just a little joy, a little hope, that’s all."

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The oversized hearts, also emblazoned with words like "kindness," "healing" and "compassion," are intended to be seen by millions of Americans. They’re erected behind the row of cameras set up for White House reporters’ live shots and will feature prominently on news channels across America all day. One of the hearts was signed, "Love, Jill."

Her office said in a statement: "As you may know, the first lady is known for her sense of humor, love of surprises, and celebrating traditions, especially with her family. Valentine’s Day has always been one of her favorite holidays."

The president told reporters that Valentine’s Day is the first lady’s "favorite day," and he recounted a time while he was vice president that she posted hearts all over the windows of his office.

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Asked how he would extend that "love story" to the American people at a time when so many are suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden said, "tell them there is hope. You just have to stay strong."