A week into his presidency, Joe Biden joined his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, for the couple's first sit-down interview from the White House. Courtesy of People, the discussion covers everything from their 43-year marriage to the outlook of the coronavirus pandemic—and the president took a dig at the previous administration. Some highlights:
- No President Biden without Jill: If not for the first lady, "I don't think I would have stayed involved in public life," Biden said. She "came along at a really important point and put my family back together. She's the glue that held it together."
- Leaning into each other: "Everyone says marriage is a 50-50. Well, that's not true. Sometimes you have to be 70-30," said Biden. "Sometimes when somebody's down, the other one steps in." And "we've been really supportive of one another."
- Valentine's tradition: Dr. Biden said the white corsage she wore during inauguration celebrations was a surprise gift from her husband. "I love gardenias and so Joe would buy me a wrist corsage of gardenias" as a Valentine's Day tradition, she said. The president said it's important to show a person how much they're loved "no matter how much time has gone by."
- Dr. Biden's teaching career: "That's my passion," said the Northern Virginia Community College professor, who is currently teaching English classes over Zoom. "It's important that she has the things that she cares a great deal about, her independence," said her husband. "And yet we share each other's dreams."
- No family appointments: Asked about ethics rules regarding family and friends, Biden appeared to get in a dig at the Trump administration. "We're going to run this like the Obama-Biden administration," he said. "No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy. And nobody has an office in this place."
- Hope for the future: "We have such an incredible opportunity as a country now," said the president. "Not because of me but because the American people sort of had the blinders ripped off, and they realized that, man, we have problems, but we also have enormous opportunities."
- One-year plan: "I hope we have really begun to make inroads on equity for all people ... where they can have decent jobs and decent opportunities," Biden said. He said he also hoped for a growing economy and a return to optimism. As for the pandemic, "I hope we have fundamentally returned to normal" but "it's going to be hard, because they're predicting another 100,000-150,000 dead unless we take precautions, even with the vaccine."
- Settling in: Biden said it was "surreal" to be living in the White House's private quarters. Dr. Biden said "the residence staff has been so great, trying to make it feel like home for us." She said the couple had brought family photos, books, and some furniture from home. That includes a crib for their youngest grandchild, Beau Biden Jr., per the Independent.
- Michelle Obama's garden: "Going strong!" says Dr. Biden. The new first lady even sent a care package of green veggies to former first lady Obama, who shared her thanks on Instagram.
- Press availability: Politico notes you may not see many interviews like this with the president, who is "nearly the antithesis" of his attention-craving predecessor. According to People, Biden began the interview by asking when he could "get back to the Oval."
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