Jill Biden surprised by mockery over doctorate degree she worked 'so hard for', condemns WSJ column's 'tone'
The would-be first lady spoke on the matter during an interview with Stephen Colbert where her husband was also present
Jill Biden, who will become the next first lady next month, has found herself in the middle of a controversy over her doctorate degree. A recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal took a dig at her degree under the title ‘Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.’ and the conservative circle also pounced upon the 69-year-old Biden whose husband, Joe, will take over as the 46th president on January 20.
But Biden, an educator, is not one to silently accept the criticism which many found baseless. During an interview she gave to Stephen Colbert alongside her husband, she said she was “surprised” by the opinion piece penned by veteran author-editor Joseph Epstein and condemned its tone. The 83-year-old Epstein sparked a controversy in his piece published last week by criticizing Biden for using ‘Dr’ as an honorific even though she is not a physician. Biden is a doctor of education -- a degree she earned from the University of Delaware in 2007 -- at the age of 55.
In his piece, Epstein called Biden a “kiddo” and wrote that the honorific felt “fraudulent” and “comic” since she doesn’t have a medical background. Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro and Fox News’s Tucker Carlson also targeted Biden over the matter. Epstein faced a backlash as the social media accused him of sexism. Former first lady Michelle Obama was also among his critics as she stood by the former second lady. “...we’re forced to prove ourselves all over again,” she said on Instagram.
During the interview on CBS’s ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’, the host asked the future first lady: “You once said in your memoir the role I have always felt most at home in is Dr Biden. Some people have recently taken it upon themselves to question that title. Do you have any reaction?”
“Yeah that was such a surprise,” Biden replied. “And it was really the tone of it that I think - you know he called me kiddo.”
'I worked so hard for it'
She also defended her doctorate saying: “One of the things I'm most proud of is my doctorate. I mean I worked so hard for it.” She also recalled the role that her politician husband played in her getting the degree. She said her husband, a former senator from Delaware, accompanied her when she defended her thesis at the university. To earn her doctorate, Biden wrote a dissertation with the title: ‘Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs’.
Joe also chipped in during the talks to say that his wife put up hard work to get the doctorate degree and it helped her get a hike.
“I got to hand her her doctorate on the stage University of Delaware, she had two masters degrees, she kept going to school all the time while teaching at night, and then what happened was I said Jill why don't you get a doctorate and make us some real money,” the president-elect said, adding: “She gets the doctorate and gets a $2,000 raise.”
Jill married Joe in 1977, five years after the latter’s first wife Neilia and daughter from her, Naomi, died in a car crash. It is also the second marriage for Jill and the duo has a daughter named Ashley.