When Vice President Joe Biden made an unscheduled visit to the grand opening of the new Costco in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, he flashed what he told onlookers was his membership card for the club big-box store chain.
“In all honesty, I didn’t have my own card, Jill wouldn’t let me have one,” he said, according to the White House pool report. “I went to get my wife’s card, and she said, ‘No, No, get your own card.’”
A White House official told press that the vice president and his wife only renewed their Costco memberships on Wednesday, however.
“The Bidens have been Costco members in the past,” the White House official said in a statement. “The Vice President and Dr. Biden’s Costco memberships were re-activated yesterday; they paid the $55 membership re-activation fee to receive their new cards. The Vice President received his own card which he is carrying today while shopping at Costco.”
Biden – who went a shopping spree in the store – was greeted by Costco CEO Craig Jelinek and the chain’s co-founder Jim Sinegal.
The Washington Examiner’s Charlie Spiering notes that Biden’s visit to the store comes as Costco’s executives “cozy up” to the White House.
Spiering points out that Sinegal, who retired as CEO last January, “gave a speech praising President Obama at the Democratic National Convention in September” and “gradually took a greater interest in Obama’s re-election campaign.”
Sinegal also defended Obama from his “You didn’t build that” remarks when Mitt Romney’s campaign seized on them.
“You might be seeing some ads or hearing some folks say that President Obama doesn’t support small business owners,” Sinegal said in an Obama campaign email to supporters. “But he understands that small businesses grow and prosper because of individual initiative – because entrepreneurs like you and me do the hard work it takes, and we can’t do it alone.”
Jelinek has gotten close to the Obama White House, too. According to Spiering, the current Costco CEO recently said he spoke with the president and asked him to extend middle class tax cuts.
“It is imperative that both sides of the ‘aisle’ compromise… to eliminate uncertainty, and allow for continued economic recovery,” Jelinek said in a recent statement.