Before entering politics, Joe Biden had a brief career as an attorney. He became Delaware’s longest-serving senator and the fifth-youngest senator in the history of the United States. Despite the fact that his 2008 presidential campaign never really took off, Democratic contender Barack Obama chose Joe Biden to be his running mate. Biden later served two terms as the United States 47th vice president.
Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2017, towards the end of his presidency. Two years later, Biden began running for president of the United States, and he was chosen to serve as the country’s 46th leader.
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Who is Joe Biden?
Biden, who was born on November 20, 1942, spent most of his childhood in Scranton, a working-class community in northeastern Pennsylvania, before ascending to one of the highest political positions in the country. Joseph Biden Sr. worked as a used car salesman and a furnace cleaner. His mother’s name was Jean Catherine Eugenia Finnegan.
Biden attributes his toughness, hard work ethic, and perseverance to his parents. The phrase “Champ, the measure of a man is not how often he is knocked down, but how quickly he gets up” has been repeated to him by his father. He also claims that his mother would advise him to “bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day!” when he would return home grumpy after being bullied by one of the neighborhood’s older children.
In Scranton, Biden attended St. Paul’s Elementary School. When he was 13 years old, the family relocated to Mayfield, Delaware, a middle-class community that was quickly rising and was largely supported by the nearby DuPont chemical business.
When Biden was younger, he struggled with a stutter, and other youngsters made fun of him by calling him “Dash” and “Joe Impedimenta.” He eventually learned to speak clearly after memorizing lengthy poems and practicing speaking them aloud in front of a mirror.
Prior to being admitted to the esteemed Archmere Academy, Biden attended the St. Helena School. Biden had long desired to attend the school, which he referred to as “the object of my deepest desire, my Oz,” despite having to labor to help his family pay for tuition by cleaning the school’s windows and maintaining the gardens.
Biden was a good student at Archmere and, in spite of his tiny stature, a standout football receiver. In 16 years as a coach, Biden’s coach recalled, “He was a small child, but he was one of the best pass receivers I had.” Biden graduated from Archmere in 1961.
At the adjacent University of Delaware, where he played football and studied history and political science, Biden attended. Later, he would acknowledge that his first two years of college were spent being far more engaged in football, girls, and partying than in academics. However, he also became intensely interested in politics during this time, partly as a result of John F. Kennedy’s stirring inauguration in 1961.
In his own words, Biden “fell ass over tin cup in love at first sight” with Syracuse University student Neilia Hunter while on a spring break trip to the Bahamas during his junior year. He was motivated by his new love to study harder, and after graduating from Delaware University in 1965, he was admitted to the Syracuse University Law School. The following year, in 1966, Biden and Hunter were wed.
Biden was at best an average legal scholar. He failed a class in his first year at Syracuse because he didn’t correctly cite a passage from a law review article. Despite his denial that it was a mistake, the episode will haunt him in the future.
Joe Biden’s Career
Biden traveled to Wilmington, Delaware, to start working at a legal business after earning his law degree there in 1968. As a result of his involvement in the Democratic Party, he was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970. In 1971, Biden established his own law business while serving as a counselor.
Biden had three children, Joseph “Beau,” Robert “Hunter,” and Naomi “Amy,” in addition to an increasingly demanding professional schedule. Biden reflected on his life at the time by saying, “Everything was happening faster than I thought.”
The popular Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs was up for reelection in 1972, and the Delaware Democratic Party recruited a 29-year-old Biden to challenge him. Biden launched a nonstop campaign that was primarily run by family members even though few people gave him much of a chance.
Both of his parents actively campaigned every day, and his sister Valerie Biden Owens managed his campaign. In a close election in November, with a high voter turnout, Biden pulled off an unexpected victory to become the fifth-youngest senator ever elected in the history of the United States.
Biden had a successful Senate career from 1973 through 2009. Biden established a reputation as one of the Senate’s foremost authorities on foreign policy while serving as the committee’s chairman for a number of years.
His numerous foreign policy opinions included supporting the First Gulf War, expanding NATO to include countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, encouraging peace and stability in the Balkans, and lobbying for strategic weapons reduction with the Soviet Union.
In later years, he advocated for American intervention to stop the Darfur massacre and spoke out against President George W. Bush’s administration’s conduct of the Iraq War, particularly in opposition to the 2007 troop surge.
Biden was a vocal supporter of stricter criminal justice regulations in addition to foreign policy. The fact that Supreme Court candidate Robert Bork was not confirmed in 1987 was primarily a result of Biden’s tough questioning at the time that he served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Biden sponsored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in 1994, which increased penalties for a number of crimes and added 100,000 police officers to the force.
Biden chose to run for president of the United States in 1987 after being one of the most well-known Democratic politicians in Washington. But after news broke that he had lifted a section of a speech, he withdrew from the Democratic primary.
When Biden left the race in 1988, physicians found that he had two potentially fatal brain aneurysms. During the campaign, Biden had been experiencing severe headaches. He had to have another operation as a result of complications from the subsequent brain surgery, which produced blood clots in his lungs. Biden, who has a history of overcoming obstacles, rejoined the Senate after a seven-month recuperation period.
Biden chose to run for the U.S. presidency once more in 2007, 20 years after his first failed attempt. Despite his extensive Senate experience, Biden’s candidacy struggled to get much traction in a field dominated by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Biden withdrew from the race after garnering fewer than 1% of the vote in the key Iowa primary.
But after a tough fight against Clinton, Obama eventually won the Democratic nomination and chose Biden to be his running mate. With his working-class roots, Biden was able to help the Obama team reach out to the blue-collar people who were so important in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania with its message of economic recovery.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden easily defeated the Republican ticket of Arizona Senator John McCain and Alaska former Governor Sarah Palin on November 2, 2008. On January 20, 2009, Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, while Biden was named the 47th vice president.
Although Biden generally supported the president in a non-public capacity, he was particularly involved in shaping federal strategies for both Iraq and Afghanistan. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation has approved in 2010 thanks in part to the vice president’s existing contacts in the Senate.
The chance to play a significant role in the Obama Administration seemed to excite Biden. He stated following the 2008 election, “It’s a historic time right now. I began my career by advocating for civil rights because I wanted to be a part of the brightest individuals and most innovative ideas in American history.
With a guy who has such amazing talent and who is also a breakthrough figure in many respects, I truly find it fascinating. He is the single best reflection of the American people who can be called upon to be at that moment. America has changed. It reflects a modernized America.
In 2012, when competing for re-election, the Obama-Biden ticket faced Republican rival Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, and Romney’s vice-presidential running partner, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Romney was defeated in the 2012 election, giving Obama a second term as president and Biden a third. Nearly 60% of the electoral votes went to President Obama, who also won the popular vote by more than a million votes.
Later on in the year, Biden has shown how effective a vice president could be. He played a key role in forging a bipartisan consensus on tax hikes and spending reductions to avert the fiscal cliff disaster. With a deadline approaching, Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell were able to reach an agreement.
The fiscal cliff bill was approved by the Senate on January 1, 2013, following months of difficult discussions. Later that day, the House of Representatives gave their approval.
Around this period, Biden rose to prominence in the national conversation regarding gun control. Following the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut that December, he was chosen to lead a special task group on the subject.
In January 2013, Biden sent President Obama recommendations for lowering gun violence across the country. Along with making recommendations, he assisted in developing 19 measures that the president may implement to address the problem.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction, the country’s highest civilian honor, was awarded to Biden on January 12, 2017, during a surprise event at the White House by President Obama.
Obama praised Biden as “the best vice president America has ever had” and a “lion of American history,” telling him that he was being recognized for his “confidence in your fellow Americans, for your love of country, and a lifetime of service that will continue through the generations.” In a moving spontaneous speech, Biden thanked the president, Michelle Obama, his wife Jill, and his kids.
As he had pledged, Biden continued to speak out long after he had left office. He occasionally seemed to criticize the 45th president, Donald Trump, who he was well known for opposing. At an event in October 2017, he said that Trump “doesn’t understand governance,” and the following month, he criticized the president-elect for his apparent support of white nationalist organizations.
Biden also periodically expressed his conflicted emotions over passing up the possibility to run for president in 2016. He stated that he “might have won” in March 2017, then in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in November, he went into further detail.
He stated that neither a woman nor a man should declare their candidacy for president until they are able to respond to two questions. “One, do they truly believe they’re the most qualified person for that moment? I believed I was but was I prepared to be able to give my whole heart, my whole soul, and all my intention to the endeavor? And I knew I wasn’t.”
A few weeks later, during an appearance on the talk show The View, Biden had a well-publicized conversation with co-host Meghan McCain, whose father, Senator John McCain, had been given the same brain cancer diagnosis that had claimed the life of Beau Biden.
The VP kindly grasped Meghan McCain’s hand to comfort her after she became obviously sad while they were talking about the sickness and pointed out how Senator McCain’s perseverance had inspired everyone. “There is hope,” he said. “And if anybody can make it, your dad.”
Although he had not yet fully recovered from the loss of his son, Biden acknowledged that he had not ruled out running for president in 2020 in an interview with Al Sharpton the following spring. He continued, “I’m really hoping that some other folks step up, I think we have some really good people. … I got to walk away knowing that it is there’s somebody who can do it and can win because we’ve got to win. We’ve got to win in 2020.”
A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll conducted in June indicated that Democrats weren’t quite ready to let Biden retire just yet, as he came in first place with 32% of respondents choosing him as their pick for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. With 18% of the vote, Hillary Clinton finished second, and Bernie Sanders took third with a 16% vote share.
The following March, while still debating a presidential bid, Biden had a fresh challenge when Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state assemblywoman, wrote an essay detailing how Biden aggressively kissed her at a campaign event.
In his statement in response, Biden recounted the “countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” he offered to political allies over the years, adding, “And not once did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
A few days later, Amy Lappos, a former congressional aide, came up with her account of how Biden once made her feel uneasy at a fundraiser, signaling the problem would probably persist throughout a presidential campaign.
Biden announced that he would be running for president in 2020 on April 25, 2019, which was predicted.
The former vice president said in his three-and-a-half-minute video declaration that he was aware that “the threat to our nation was unlike any I’d ever seen in my lifetime” at the time of the violent, racially tinged protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
At the time he entered the race, Biden was far ahead in the majority of Democratic polls, but his campaign quickly turned into a litmus test for a party with a base that is becoming more and more progressive. Biden received flak for declaring support for the Hyde Amendment, a 43-year-old law that forbade federal funding for abortions, before quickly changing his mind. This incident highlights the difficulties Biden faces in projecting himself as a centrist.
Biden’s record came under attack once more when Kamala Harris criticized him for his opposition to busing as a strategy for school integration in the 1970s at the first Democratic primary debate in late June. In later debates, where he showed off his strong knowledge of international affairs and compared his accomplishments to those of President Obama, he performed better.
In the meantime, a fresh issue emerged in September 2019 after it was discovered that President Trump had pushed the Ukrainian government to look into Biden and his son Hunter. This resulted from Biden’s attempts to get the country’s then-prosecutor general sacked and Hunter’s prior engagement with the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings.
In a speech on September 24, Biden referred to Trump’s actions as an “abuse of power” and stated that if the president did not work with Congress, he would support impeachment. This topic gained extra importance when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi started the impeachment process that same day.
Biden was fourth in the Iowa caucuses and subsequently fifth in the New Hampshire primary after Trump’s impeachment trial ended with his acquittal on February 5, 2020. But at the end of the month, he bounced back with a convincing victory in South Carolina.
He then maintained his momentum by capturing the majority of delegates from Super Tuesday voting in early March. His surge eliminated the majority of his top rivals from the race.
Biden pledged to nominate a woman to be his vice president during a one-on-one debate with Sanders in mid-March. When Sanders finished his campaign in early April, he became the presumed Democratic contender, but he also found himself dealing with fresh charges of sexual assault, this time from a former staffer called Tara Reade.
Biden named Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate on August 11, 2020. Biden stated, “I have the tremendous honor to announce that I have chosen Kamala Harris as my running partner. She is a courageous warrior for the little guy and one of the country’s finest public servants.
Biden said. “Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.” Biden was formally named the Democratic Party’s candidate for president in 2020 August.
Congressional Debates With Trump
On September 29, 2020, the much-awaited first presidential debate between Trump and Biden was a chaotic event characterized by many interruptions and contentious conversations that soon deviated from the original agenda. Flustered, Biden dubbed his opponent a “clown,” but he also managed to make multiple jabs at the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and vehemently argued his positions on climate change and law enforcement.
The 15th of October was originally set aside for a second debate, but town halls for both candidates were organized in its place when Trump declined to participate in a virtual debate.
Biden experienced fewer interruptions during the third debate on October 22 because microphones were frequently muffled when he discussed his views on health care, immigration reform, and green jobs. He also criticized the president once more for his handling of the coronavirus and his practice of separating migrant children from their parents at the border. He concluded by saying that “America’s character is on the ballot” and drawing a clear line between their approaches.
Joe Biden’s Personal Life
Biden was confronted with a tragic event just when his wildest hopes appeared to be coming true. Biden’s wife and three children were killed in a tragic vehicle accident while out to buy a Christmas tree in 1972, a week before Christmas.
His wife and daughter were killed in the collision, and both of his kids, Beau and Hunter, were seriously hurt. Biden was so upset that he contemplated killing himself. He reflects, “I began to understand how despair led people to just cash in; how suicide wasn’t just an option but a rational option … I felt God had played a horrible trick on me, and I was angry.”
Biden nevertheless made the decision to uphold his promise to serve the people of Delaware in the Senate after receiving encouragement from his family. He took the oath of office from his sons’ hospital room rather than participating in the Washington, D.C., swearing-in event for new senators.
Biden made the decision to stay in Wilmington and commute daily to and from Washington by Amtrak train, a habit he kept during his lengthy career in the Senate, in order to spend as much time as possible with his sons.
Since 1977, Biden has been wed to Jill Biden, his second wife. Ashley, the couple’s daughter, was conceived in 1981. Biden had yet personal loss on May 30, 2015, when his son Beau passed away at the age of 46 following a battle with brain cancer. In a statement on his son, Biden said, “Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.”
After this tragedy, Biden thought about running for president, but he put the rumors to rest in October 2015 by declaring that he will not run for the Democratic candidacy in 2016. Biden made his announcement in the White House Rose Garden with his wife Jill and President Obama by his side, citing the recent passing of his son in his reasoning: “As my family and I have worked through the grieving process, I’ve said all along what I’ve said time and again to others, that it may very well be that the process by the time we get through it closes the window. I’ve concluded it has closed.”
Biden also said, “While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent. I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully, to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.”
The win of the 2020 Election
On November 3, 2020, some states continued to count mail-in ballots long after polls closed because the race was too close to call. The news of Biden’s victory in Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as the rumors of his leads in Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, started to turn the tide in his favor. While everything was going on, President Trump filed several lawsuits alleging voter fraud and attempting to stop the vote tallying in crucial states.
Four days after election day, on November 7, 2020, Biden has formally proclaimed the 46th president-elect after winning Pennsylvania. The soon-to-be 78-year-old was on track to become the nation’s oldest president in history in addition to receiving more than 81 million votes, a record.
Biden tweeted, “America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country,” “The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me.”
The Electoral College officially recognized Vice President Biden’s victory over President Trump on December 14, 2020, after all, 538 electors cast their ballots. Trump received 232 votes, while Biden received 306 votes.
Biden’s transition preparations were initially hindered by Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, who delayed the receipt of federal monies for the process until November 23. Nevertheless, he proceeded through with the appointment of Cabinet members and other staff employees.
A Capitol Siege
On January 6, 2021, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building and overpowered the police, forcing members to flee for their safety. This occurred following the commencement of a congressional session to formally announce the Electoral College results.
Then, in a speech, Biden begged Trump to assist in bringing order to the situation. “The words of a president can be motivating at their finest. The least they can do is provoke, “he stated. In order to fulfill his pledge to protect the constitution and demand an end to this siege, President Trump is urged to go on national television right away.
After the violence, which led to more than 80 arrests and five fatalities, the congressional session resumed and went on until well after midnight. On January 7, Former Vice President Mike Pence officially announced Biden’s victory soon after 3:40 a.m.
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On January 20, 2021, Vice President Joe Biden took office as the 46th President of the United States. “This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope. Of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge.
Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded. We have learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” In his inaugural address, he said the following.
Joe Biden’s Net Worth
Forbes estimates that President Joe Biden is worth $9 million. Along with his wife, Jill, the Bidens have assets that total $4 million in cash and investments, two homes in Delaware, a government pension worth over $1 million, and another $4 million in cash and investments.
Despite earning a consistent salary as a lawmaker, the majority of Biden’s fortune has come through book agreements and speaking engagements. Starting off in the Senate in 1979, Biden made $42,500 annually; by the time he departed in 2009, he was making $169,300. He received a pay raise of $230,700 as vice president, and he will receive a salary of $400,000 as president.
When “Promises to Keep,” his debut memoir, was published in 2008, Biden received $71,000 in royalties and $9,500 for the audiobook rights. However, that pales in comparison to what he has made since leaving the White House. According to Forbes’ analysis of the Bidens’ tax returns from 2017 to 2019, they made over $15 million.
Included in that are reportedly an $8 million book deal, $1.8 million in proceeds from book tour appearances, $2.4 million in speaking fees, and $775,000 from the University of Pennsylvania to direct the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement as the Benjamin Franklin presidential professor of practice.