‘He called me kiddo’: Jill Biden says Wall Street Journal essay was ‘such a surprise’

Jill Biden gesturing while speaking to reporters
Jill Biden has addressed a controversial Wall Street Journal op-ed about her.
(Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)

Surprised the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed attacking Jill Biden’s preference to use the title “Dr.”? So was Jill Biden.

On Thursday’s episode of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” incoming First Lady Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden responded to Joseph Epstein’s controversial essay for the newspaper, which has been widely criticized as sexist.

“That was such a surprise,” Jill Biden told Colbert. “It was really the tone of it. ... He called me ‘kiddo.’ And one of the things I’m most proud of is my doctorate. I mean, I’ve worked so hard for it.”

The Journal drew sharp criticism last week for running the condescending piece, which addressed the longtime educator as “Madame First Lady — Mrs. Biden — Jill — kiddo,” before arguing that her use of the Dr. title “sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”


“I got to hand her the doctorate on the stage at the University of Delaware,” Joe Biden added on “The Late Show.” “You had two master’s degrees. She kept going to school all the time while teaching at night. And then what happens is, I said, ‘Jill, why don’t you get a doctorate and make us some real money. She gets the doctorate, gets a $2,000 raise.”

Shortly after the op-ed, headlined “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.,” went live, hordes of people — especially women — leapt to Jill Biden’s defense. Among them was former First Lady Michelle Obama, who lamented that women’s “accomplishments are met with skepticism, even derision” by those “who choose the weakness of ridicule over the strength of respect.”

“Look at all the people who came out in support of me,” Jill Biden told Colbert. “I am so grateful, and I was just overwhelmed by how gracious people were.”

(The National Review piled on with an even harsher commentary about Biden, with writer Kyle Smith being roundly trashed for his hit job.)

In an insulting Wall Street Journal essay, Joseph Epstein criticizes Jill Biden’s use of the title “Doctor.” Now he and the paper are wondering why people are angry.

Meanwhile, the former vice president weighed in on speculation as to whether President Trump — who has repeatedly circulated unfounded claims that the presidential election was fraudulent — will be present, per tradition, at Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

Biden admitted he personally doesn’t care whether Trump attends, but “in a sense relating to history ... the peaceful transition of power — the power being handed from one person to another, one part to another — is who we are.

“That’s the part I worry about,” he added. “I don’t take it personally, but I do think it affects the view of the rest of the world as to who we are.”

Biden also discussed plans to distribute Pfizer’s recently approved COVID-19 vaccine, which started making the initial rounds among healthcare workers in the United States this week.

“It’s one thing to get the vaccine delivered to X number of spots around the country,” he said. “It’s a very different thing to get that vaccine out of a tube, into a syringe, into somebody’s arm. That is a monumental task. ...

“It’s going to take a lot more than we have now. That’s why I’m praying that the House ... pass that $900-billion proposal. We’re going to need more. We’re going to need more vaccine. We’re going to need more money ... to be able to get this distributed. But it’s underway, and I believe we can get 100-million vaccinations taken place.”