In their first White House sit-down, President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden discuss their 43 years of marriage, as well as their optimism for the future of our country.
On Wednesday, People published an interview with the president and the first lady just a week after President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office.
When asked if 1600 Penn is starting to feel like home, President Biden, who formerly served as vice president in the Obama administration, responded, “It’s surreal... but it’s comfortable.”
“We were here for eight years, just not in this part of the residence. Spent a lot of time in the Cabinet Room and the Oval with the president. So upstairs [in the private family quarters] is new,” he continued.
Dr. Biden added, “The residence staff has been so great, trying to make it feel like home for us. We have family pictures all around, our books, some furniture we brought from home.”
While discussing their four-decade relationship, the president credits his and Dr. Biden’s success to her having “a backbone like a ramrod.”
“Everybody says marriage is 50/50. Well, sometimes you have to be 70/30. Thank God that when I’m really down, she steps in, and when she’s really down, I’m able to step in. We’ve been really supportive of one another. I’ve read all that data as well about families under pressure, and that’s why I’m glad she kept her profession,” he explained.
“All that we’ve been through together — the highs, the lows, and certainly tragedy and loss — there’s that quote that says sometimes you become stronger in the fractured places. That’s what we try to achieve,” added Dr. Biden, who remotely teaches English at Northern Virginia Community College.
Although the president says he and his wife “each could do our jobs” without the other, they would not do it “as well.”
“I don’t think I would have stayed involved in public life. Jill came along at a really important point and put my family back together. She’s the glue that held it together, and I knew that I wanted to marry her shortly after I met her,” the president admitted. “It’s not that we don’t fight and argue sometimes. I’m just lucky.”
In response to this, Dr. Biden joked, “Well, after 43 years of marriage, there’s really not that much more to fight about.”
As for the future of America, which has endured a pandemic as well as protests against systemic racism, the president has hope that our country will make progress.
“I hope we have fundamentally returned to normal as it relates to COVID — and it’s going to be hard, because they’re predicting another 100,000 to 150,000 dead unless we take precautions, even with the vaccine,” he said.
“I hope we have really begun to make inroads on equity for all people... where they can have decent jobs and decent opportunities, and the economy is growing, and people are back to a degree of optimism.”