Jill Biden is opening up about a recent controversial opinion piece calling on her to drop her “Dr.” title before officially becoming first lady. Speaking with Stephen Colbert, the career educator admitted that the criticism was unexpected.
“That was such a surprise,” Jill shared during a joint interview with her husband, President-elect Joe Biden, on Thursday’s A Late Show. “And it was really the tone of it.”
In the WSJ column — which has been widely derided as misogynistic and deeply insulting to many who have earned doctorate degrees — essayist Joseph Epstein called on the future first lady to “drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name” as he feels only medical doctors should used the title.
Additionally, Epstein was slammed for calling her “kiddo” and saying her using of the title “sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.” Jill earned her Doctor of Education (Ed.D) from the University of Delaware in 2007.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is my doctorate, you know, I worked so hard for it,” she explained to Colbert while reflecting on the column.
“She had two masters degrees. She kept going school all the time, while teaching at night,” Joe recalled, smiling. “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.”
For Jill, the column also showed just how appreciated she is when a chorus of critics came out to slam the op-ed and share their kind words for her hard work.
“Look at the people who came out in support of me. I am so grateful and I was just overwhelmed by how gracious people were toward me,” Jill said.
TONIGHT! @StephenAtHome sits down with President-elect @JoeBiden and @DrBiden and they respond to the attacks on her doctorate degree. #LSSCpic.twitter.com/HMDGxoaq27
Colbert jokingly asked Joe if the column insulting his wife wanted to make him “get out a length of pool chain” and get some payback.
“The answer is that’s close,” Joe said, as Jill quietly shushed him, adding, “No, no.”
“I have been suppressing my Irishness for some time,” Joe quipped.
Among the many who have come out in support of Jill in the wake of the op-ed was former first lady Michelle Obama, who took to Instagram on Monday to speak out about the column.
“”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,” Michelle wrote. “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. We’re doubted by those who choose the weakness of ridicule over the strength of respect. And yet somehow, their words can stick—after decades of work, we’re forced to prove ourselves all over again.”
“Dr. Biden gives us a better example. And this is why I feel so strongly that we could not ask for a better First Lady. She will be a terrific role model not just for young girls but for all of us, wearing her accomplishments with grace, good humor, and yes, pride. I’m thrilled that the world will see what I have come to know—a brilliant woman who has distinguished herself in her profession and with the life she lives every day, always seeking to lift others up, rather than tearing them down,” she added.
For more on the future president and first lady, who will take office on Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, check out the video below
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