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Saturday, 19 December 2020

'I worked so hard for it': Jill Biden hits back at critics of her doctorate and condemns the 'tone' of WSJ column that called her 'kiddo' and told her to drop 'Dr' title because it 'feels fraudulent and comic'

 Jill Biden has hit out at critics of her doctorate which she 'worked so hard for' and condemned the 'tone' of the Wall Street Journal article which panned her.

The 69-year-old told Stephen Colbert she was 'surprised' by the opinion piece in an interview alongside president-elect Joe Biden.

Joseph Epstein ignited controversy earlier this week with the op-ed titled 'Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.' It criticized the incoming first lady for using ‘Dr.’ as an honorific even though she’s not a physician. 

He addressed Jill as ‘kiddo’ and wrote that the use of the honorific felt ‘fraudulent’ and ‘comic’ since the wife of President-elect Joe Biden doesn’t have a medical background.

Epstein’s take sparked an angry backlash and accusations of sexism on social media. 

Colbert asked: '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.'

Jill Biden, 69, hit back at critics of her doctorate on Thursday night, telling Stephen Colbert she was 'surprised' by a Wall Street Journal opinion piece urging her to drop her doctor title

Jill Biden, 69, hit back at critics of her doctorate on Thursday night, telling Stephen Colbert she was 'surprised' by a Wall Street Journal opinion piece urging her to drop her doctor title

President-elect Joe Biden praised his wife during the on-air interview, recalling how she earned her doctorate while working nights, and revealing it earned her a $2,000 raise

President-elect Joe Biden praised his wife during the on-air interview, recalling how she earned her doctorate while working nights, and revealing it earned her a $2,000 raise  

'That was such a surprise!' Jill Biden reacts to 'Dr.' criticism
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But she told Colbert: 'One of the things I'm most proud of is my doctorate. I mean I worked so hard for it.'

Reminiscing fondly, Biden described how her husband came with her when she defended her thesis at the University of Delaware.

To earn her Ed.D., doctorate of education, Dr Biden wrote a dissertation titled: 'Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students' Needs.'

Cutting across his wife, Joe said: '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.

'She gets the doctorate and gets a $2,000 raise.' 

Many have rushed to her defense since the WSJ opinion piece, including the former First Lady Michelle Obama who said it was patronizing and sexist. 

Colbert chipped in and said he was also very surprised that people had been irritated by her using the Dr. title

Colbert chipped in and said he was also very surprised that people had been irritated by her using the Dr. title

Biden was full of praise for his wife, saying that he had to 'suppress his Irishness' when faced with her critics

Biden was full of praise for his wife, saying that he had to 'suppress his Irishness' when faced with her critics


Obama wrote on Instagram: 'For eight years, I saw Dr. Jill Biden do what a lot of professional women do - successfully manage more than one responsibility at a time, from her teaching duties to her official obligations in the White House to her roles as a mother, wife, and friend.

'And right now, we're all seeing what also happens to so many professional women, whether their titles are Dr., Ms., Mrs., or even First Lady: All too often, our accomplishments are met with skepticism, even derision.

'After decades of work, we're forced to prove ourselves all over again.'

Dr. Jill Biden speaks at Kingsborough Community College's 2009 commencement at Kingsborough Community College on June 12, 2009 in New York City

Dr. Jill Biden speaks at Kingsborough Community College's 2009 commencement at Kingsborough Community College on June 12, 2009 in New York City

Biden's critics say it is unconventional to invite people to call you doctor if you hold a Ed.D because this is ordinarily reserved for medical doctors – although its use might be more liberal in academic settings.

Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson agreed with Epstein, saying that Biden was 'a doctor of education, which means basically nothing.'

'Jill Biden is not a doctor, no. Maybe in the same sense Dr Pepper is,' Carlson added.

'In 2007, at the age of 55, she got a doctorate in education, so she's got the same degree as Dr Bill Cosby.'

Cosby, serving a three to ten year sentence for sexual assault, obtained a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1976.

Carlson pointed out that, in 2009, Jill Biden said she wanted to get a PhD because she was tired of letters to 'Senator and Mrs Biden'.

He accused her of having 'status anxiety,' saying she 'decided to cure that, as so many do in our country, with another pointless title'.

However, many have suggested that the argument has only been mounted because Biden is a woman. 

Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and the country's first ever second husband, noted, 'This article would never have been written about a man.'

And Hillary Clinton, both a former first lady and former secretary of state, simply tweeted: 'Her name is Dr. Jill Biden. Get used to it.'

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