“I’m just so proud, I truly am proud of my father.” Ahead of Inauguration Day on January 20, Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley Biden appeared on TODAY as she opened up about the past weeks on the road to The White House. Following the Capitol siege last week, the transfer of power of which is normally a hallowed tradition, will be unlike past years with First Lady Melania Trump failing to reach out to First Lady In Waiting Dr Jill Biden. Ashley says, “we’re okay with it”.
In addition, the 39-year-old social worker revealed intimate details on growing up in the Biden household. Much like middle-class families at the time – the American dream as some would call it – Ashley’s childhood was a familiar scene of her parent’s; 9 to 5 jobs, family dinners and school sport.
“My parents were very involved in my life as they were my brother’s,” Ashley tells TODAY. “Mum was a public school teacher and Dad rode the train to and from work. He always made my lacrosse and field hockey games… We had a lot of time together. That was really who I was with all the time. It was Mum, Dad, Beau and Hunter. Whether it was family dinners at night – family dinners were very sacred. We would talk about our days and current events. Dad and Mum were just extremely involved.”
Ashley says she learnt a lot from her parent’s love, one that has come from respect. “They really respect one another’s opinion and they trust each other’s judgement. Dad is a romantic and Mum is too. She would leave notes on Dad’s mirror covered with words of encouragement. Dad has always been romantic with Mum but they’re also best friends. They have this really beautiful love. Mum really keeps Dad grounded you know?”
Joe Biden‘s career as a public servant seemingly rubbed off on Ashley. Not only is she an influential social worker, activist and philanthropist – she served as the executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice from 2014 to 2019 – but her drive to help in society begun at a young age.
“When I heard dolphins were getting caught in tuna nets from catching tuna, I was like, ‘We’ve got to do something about this.’ And after a little bit, Dad said, ‘Ok let’s do this, let’s do something about saving the dolphins.’ At the time – I think this was in 1990 – at the time you were allowed to go in the House floor. So I brought all of my posters, and I went with Congresswoman Boxer and I went onto the House floor to every congressman and woman… I was eight.
“It was instilled in me at a young age that silence was complicity. That an abuse of power was the worst type of abuse.”
Joe’s late-wife, Neilia, was killed in a car accident in 1972 with infant-daughter Naomi. Joe remarried to Jill (although as the story goes, he had to propose five times) where Ashley became the only child of the couple. She shared half-brothers Beau and Hunter. In 2015, Beau, who went on to follow in his father’s footsteps as a politician, tragically passed away from brain cancer.
“Dad is so empathetic and has the ability to recognize pain… and to comfort.” -Ashley Biden says about her father, President-elect Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/YjxSwCUOhL
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 19, 2021
On the eve of his inauguration, the President-Elect made a tearful farewell speech to the state of Delaware: “Ladies and gentleman, I only have one regret: He’s not here. Because we should be introducing him as president.”
Since the tragedy, Ashley believes family is his number one priority. “We have a rule still today that no matter where Dad is, no matter what meeting he is in, that if one of the kid’s call, you’ve got to get him out.”
Life in the political spotlight has not been easy however with Ashley admitting through her teens and twenties, that the criticism of her father was difficult to cope with. In her maturity she knows now that “a lot of the time, it’s wrong.”
Watch Ashley’s full interview, here.
And here is our favourite video of President Elect Joe Biden. Family really is everything to him.