Joe Biden

Term: January 22, 2021 – Present
Vice President: Kamala Harris
Home State: Pennsylvania
Wife: Jill Biden
Children: Hunter Biden, Ashley Biden, Naomi Christina Biden, Beau Biden

Joe Biden was elected the 46th President of the United States in November of 2020, promising a return to some degree of normalcy following President Donald Trump’s polarizing term.  He was inaugurated along with Kamala Harris, the first woman, and first person of color to serve as Vice President.  Biden entered office during COVID-19, the worst global pandemic in a century, an economic downturn, and increased political extremism, culminating in the storming of the Capitol building by right-wing protesters on January 6, 2021.

Early in his presidency, to combat economic upheaval caused by COVID-19, Biden passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021; a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that temporarily established expanded unemployment insurance and sent $1,400 stimulus checks to most Americans.  He ramped up vaccine production and distribution and signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a 1.2-trillion ten-year plan brokered by Biden alongside Democrats and Republicans in Congress, to invest in American roads, bridges, public transit, ports and broadband access.  Biden also proposed as significant long-term expansion of the U.S. social safety net through the Build Back Better Plan, but those efforts, along with voting rights legislation, failed in an evenly-divided Senate.  In foreign policy, Biden completed the messy withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan, which was quickly followed by the Taliban takeover of that country.  He led an international coalition of partners and allies to enact comprehensive sanctions against Russia and sent tens of billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, following Russia’s invasion of that country in early 2022. 

Biden’s first term has been deeply affected by a number of unusual global happenings, including supply-chain issues affecting a wide variety of goods as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns, resource shortages, and very high energy prices, all of which have contributed to the U.S’s highest domestic inflation in 40 years.  While GDP and jobs numbers have been strong, soaring prices have contributed to public discontent and low approval numbers.

For their 2021 White House Christmas cards, the President and First Lady chose a design featuring a watercolor painting by Becky Larimer of the White House Calligraphy office.  The card features a closeup of the White House South Portico, warmly lit in the golden glow of lanterns beneath an evening sky.  A giant wreath adorned with a festive red bow is hung from the balcony railing between the center columns.  The scene is framed by snow-covered evergreens.

Inside the front cover of the card, a Helen Keller quote appears:  “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”  On the lower panel, inside, the Presidential seal appears at the top, followed by the greeting in script, “May gifts from the heart be with you and your family this Holiday Season.” This is followed by the signatures Joe and Jill.

On back cover, there appears the image of a lit candle followed by the inscription, “In remembrance of all Americans who lost their lives to COVID-19, and in recognition of essential and frontline workers, first responders, and our service members and their families.  Watercolor by Becky Larimer, White House Calligraphy Office, 2021.

The card is in keeping with the theme First lady Jill Biden unveiled for the 2021 White House Holiday Season: Gifts from the Heart.  Inspired by the small acts of kindness and experiences that lifted our spirits this year and throughout the pandemic, different rooms in the White House were decorated to reflect the Gifts from the Heart that unite us all:  Faith, Community, Family, Friendship, The Arts, Learning, Nature, Gratitude, Service, Peace, Unity.

Throughout the White House grounds, there are a total of 41 Christmas trees.  For 2021, approximately 6,000 feet of ribbon, over 300 candles, and over 10,000 ornaments were used to decorate the White House and grounds.  Over 78,750 holiday lights decorated the Christmas trees, garlands, wreaths, and displays in the White House.  Twenty-five classic wreaths adorn the north and south facades of the White House.  It takes over 100 dedicated volunteers working a full week to decorate the inside and outside of the White House.

The man who would become the 46th President, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., was born Nov. 20, 1942, to Joseph R. Sr. and Catherine Eugenia (formerly Finnegan), in Scranton, Pa., the first of four siblings. In 1953, the Biden family moved from Pennsylvania to Claymont, Delaware, just outside Wilmington. He graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School and served as a Councilman for New Castle County, Delaware. At age 29, he became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate. Just weeks after the election, tragedy struck the Biden family when Biden’s wife, Neilia, and their 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed and their two young sons critically injured in an auto accident. Biden was sworn into the U.S. Senate at his sons’ hospital bedside and began commuting to Washington every day by train, a practice he kept and became famous for during his decades-long Senate career. In 1977, he married Jill Jacobs, a lifelong educator who holds a Ph.D. in education.  As a senator from Delaware for over three and a half decades, Biden established himself as a leader in facing some of our nation’s most important domestic and international challenges. As chairman or member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years, then-Senator Biden was widely recognized for his work on criminal justice issues, including the 1994 Crime Bill and the Violence Against Women Act.  As chairman or member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 12 years, he played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy.  Some important issues he worked on were:  US policy in regards to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, European issues following the collapse of communism, the Middle East, and South Asia.

Biden’s oldest son, Beau, was Delaware’s attorney general from 2007-2015 and a major in the 261st Signal Brigade of the Delaware National Guard.  He was deployed to Iraq in 2008-2009. Beau died in 2015 after battling brain cancer, a second devastating personal tragedy for the Vice President which strengthened his resolve to do everything possible to fight and, hopefully, eradicate cancer in the future. Biden’s other son, Hunter, is an attorney, and his daughter Ashley is a social worker.

In 2008, Democratic Presidential nominee Barrack Obama selected Biden as his running mate and their ticket defeated John McCain and Sarah Palin in the November election.  As the 47th vice president of the United States, Biden continued his leadership on important issues facing the nation and oftentimes acted as President Obama’s point-man on foreign policy, traveling to over 50 countries.  He has convened sessions of the President’s Cabinet, coordinated multiple-agency  efforts, and worked with Congress on issues such as raising the living standards of middle-class Americans, reducing gun violence, and addressing violence against women.  Biden led the White House Cancer Moonshot to enhance cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care and is now launching his own Biden Cancer Initiative.

Leave a Reply