Dr. Jill Biden is speaking out about that Wall Street Journal article.
Less than a week after the newspaper published an op-ed arguing she should drop the “Dr.” from her name, the incoming first lady reacted to the piece during the Dec. 17th episode of The Late Show.
When asked about the article, Dr. Biden told Stephen Colbert it took her by surprise. “It was really the tone of it,” she explained. “You know, he called me kiddo.”
In the opinion piece, author Joseph Epstein argued Dr. Biden should stop using her “Dr.” title because she’s not a medical doctor.
“Madame First Lady–Mrs. Biden–Jill–kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name?” he wrote. “‘Dr. Jill Biden'” sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
Dr. Biden earned her doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007. For her dissertation, she focused on increasing student retention in community colleges. In his op-ed, Epstein called her dissertation’s title, “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs,” “unpromising.”
“A wise man once said that no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child,” he continued. “Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.”
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But the writer didn’t stop there. “As for your Ed.D., Madame First Lady, hard-earned though it may have been, please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now,” Epstein concluded. “Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden.”
During her interview with Colbert, Dr. Biden said one of the things she’s most proud of is her doctorate. “I mean, I worked so hard for it,” she said. “And Joe [Biden] came when I defended my thesis.”
However, she appreciated everyone who stood up for her right to use whatever title she sees fit. Former First Lady Michelle Obama and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were among her supporters.
“But look at all the people who came out in support of me,” Dr. Biden said. “I mean, I am so grateful. I was just overwhelmed by how gracious people were to me.”
Her husband, who joined her for the interview, shared a few words, as well.
“I got to hand her the doctorate on the stage at the University of Delaware,” he recalled. “She had two master’s degrees. She kept going to school all the time while teaching at night. And then what happens is I say, ‘Jill, why don’t you get a doctorate and make us some real money.’ She gets the doctorate and gets a $2,000 raise.”
When Colbert asked if he wanted to “get out a length of pool chain” after reading the article and get some payback, President-elect Biden quipped, “The answer is that’s close.”
“No, no it wasn’t,” he said, later adding, “I’ve been suppressing my Irishness for a long time.”
This wasn’t the first time Dr. Biden had addressed the piece. She also responded on Twitter earlier this week, writing, “Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.”
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal has stood by the op-ed. “If you disagree with Mr. Epstein, fair enough. Write a letter or shout your objections on Twitter,” editorial page editor Paul A. Gigot wrote in a separate piece. “But these pages aren’t going to stop publishing provocative essays merely because they offend the new administration or the political censors in the media and academe. And since it’s a time to heal, we’ll give the Biden crowd a mulligan for their attacks on us.”