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Jill Biden: The Most Important First Lady Ever?

Jill Biden
First Lady Jill Biden delivers remarks to Air Force personnel and their families, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Jill Biden Front and Center During Biden Presidency: When you talk about Joe Biden’s inner circle, his wife, Jill Biden, is not the first person who comes to mind, but she is playing a more significant role than what was expected of her early in her husband’s presidency.

The First Lady is one of the first presidential spouses to hold on to her day job – that of a teacher at a local community college. In her time off, she has been right by her husband’s side and is sometimes in the room when critical decisions are made such as when and how the president would announce his re-election campaign.

“She is always his final gut check,” one of her advisers said in a feature published by Politico.

The President’s Number One Fan

While she doesn’t often make decisions herself, White House insiders say, she is a dependable sounding board for ideas that affect her husband. And she is one of his biggest cheerleaders, seemingly not worried that the president’s advanced age should disqualify him as president.

She has also been a defender of her husband’s troubled son Hunter. She has maintained Hunter’s innocence as he attempts to navigate multiple investigations and a steady drumbeat of negative press.

The First Lady is expected to have duties during the re-election phase, such as delivering her upbeat message to middle-class suburban moms and single women.

Stand By Your Man

Jill has a multitude of experience as the defender-in-chief of the Biden family.

She was at his side during the vice presidency for the Obama years and when he served as the senator from Delaware. She is used to the negative attacks on her husband and his extended family.

The First Lady was also there to comfort her husband when his son Beau died of cancer.

As a teacher, she has taken on education as a cause and is a defender of efforts to keep conservatives from banning books that are believed to inappropriate for children due to graphic subject matter. She worked to open schools after the pandemic and led initiatives to fight cancer.

But politics has not come naturally to the president’s wife and there was a period where she educated herself on the pressures that confront a spouse of an elected official.

“She was a schoolteacher and she had less than no interest in politics or involvement in politics. She was really not a political person at all. She cared about what was happening in her community, but it wasn’t like she thought about political strategy or anything like that. That was not her deal,” said a veteran Biden staffer.

She Is Part of the Decision-making Calculus

Sometimes Jill can be the last person the president speaks to before making a pivotal decision. She often takes notes at meetings and maintains a quiet presence, but she is cognizant of the ramifications that her counsel provides to the president.

Jill Biden Is a Mild-mannered First Lady

She is no Nancy Reagan, who played favorites during Ronald Reagan’s presidency and made recommendations on who to fire and which Reagan staffers should get promotions. Jill has a much better bedside manner than Nancy Reagan and displays more thoughtfulness and kindness in her dealings at the White House.

She also doesn’t have the ego that Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama have. Jill Biden is not distant and appears to relish her position more so than Melania Trump.

Jill has not been without controversy and criticism such as the time she spoke about Latinos being diverse as “breakfast tacos.” And she invited both teams of the Women’s NCAA basketball final in 2023 to the White House which broke with tradition.

But the First Lady has mainly avoided snafus and rarely mis-speaks unlike her husband who is a self-described gaffe machine. She was also shown often in the three-minute presidential re-election video that highlighted her sunny demeanor.

People don’t decide on their vote for president because of the First Lady. The president will have a more difficult time running for re-election in this cycle. He won’t be able to cower in his basement and will be forced to make a dizzying number of public appearances in which his penchant for communication flubs will be front and center.

He hopes his most enthusiastic supporter will continue to be his wife, who will ensure the inevitable mistakes do not take the wind out of Joe Biden’s sails.

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Author Expertise and Experience

Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.