Jill Biden Pursues President’s Most Elusive Campaign Promise: Unity


“It’s pretty funny,” she said of her return to class. “My students are really puzzled. “

According to emails obtained by CBS News and, later, the New York Times, she categorically resisted being promoted to first lady in documents for the school’s campus, Northern Virginia Community College. “I want students to see me as their English teacher,” she wrote to an employee who wanted to use her role in promotional material. In communications with campus officials, she also did not want her female name on the class schedule. This semester, she is still listed under “J. Tracy.”

As they spent weeks last winter figuring out how to allow Dr Biden to continue teaching, campus officials, working with White House attorneys, arranged for her to be paid into an account. nonprofit fundraiser to avoid conflict with the Constitution. emoluments clause, according to an administration official.

“Jill has her own career separate from any duties that may have fallen to first ladies by tradition,” Jimmie McClellan, dean of liberal arts and supervisor of Dr. Biden, said in an email.

Unlike other first ladies who put their careers on hold to support their husbands in the White House, Dr Biden has long juggled competing identities at times. Growing up Jill Jacobs in a Philadelphia suburb, the future first lady came of age during the Second Wave of Feminism, a time when women had to put themselves before any potential husbands. But she ended up getting married for the first time in 1970, at the age of 18, to the owner of a popular Delaware bar. The couple divorced in 1975.

When she married for the second time to Mr. Biden in 1977, her identity was eclipsed by marrying a public figure whose tragic story – a car accident that killed his wife and young daughter – the forced her to put her life on hold. She stopped her teaching career to raise her sons, Beau and Hunter. They later had a daughter, Ashley. Eventually, Dr. Biden returned to the path of teaching and earned a doctorate in educational leadership.

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