Joe Biden

46th and current president of the United States

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (/ˌrɒbɪˈnɛt ˈbdən/;[1] born (1942-11-20)November 20, 1942) is an American politician and the 46th and current president of the United States since 2021. Biden was also the vice president of the United States from 2009 through 2017 while Barack Obama was president. He is a member of the Democratic Party and is from Wilmington, Delaware. Before becoming vice president, Biden was a U.S. Senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009. He had been in the Senate longer than any other President or Vice President.[2][3]

Joe Biden
Joe Biden presidential portrait.jpg
Official portrait, 2021
46th President of the United States
Assumed office
January 20, 2021
Vice PresidentKamala Harris
Preceded byDonald Trump
47th Vice President of the United States
In office
January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byDick Cheney
Succeeded byMike Pence
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 15, 2009
Preceded byJ. Caleb Boggs
Succeeded byTed Kaufman
Personal details
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

(1942-11-20) November 20, 1942 (age 80)
Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States
Political partyDemocratic (1969–present)
Other political
Independent (before 1969)
  • Joseph Robinette Biden Sr.
  • Catherine Eugenia Finnegan
RelativesBiden family
ResidenceWhite House (official)
Wilmington, Delaware (private)
  • Politician
  • lawyer
  • author
AwardsSee Awards and honors
ReligionRoman Catholicism

He tried to become the Democratic candidate for president in 1988 and 2008 but did not win. During the 2008 election, then-Senator Barack Obama picked him to be his running mate. He is a Roman Catholic.[4] Biden has received several awards. He has five honorary doctorates, including one from his alma mater and one from where he has taught law.[5] He has also earned the "Best of Congress Award", an award from the Pakistani government,[6] and the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction.[7]

After finishing his second term as vice president, Biden began working at the University of Pennsylvania.[8] On April 25, 2019, Biden launched his presidential campaign for the 2020 election.[9] On April 8, 2020, Biden became the likely nominee for the Democratic nomination after Bernie Sanders ended his campaign.[10] On November 7, he defeated former President Donald Trump and became the president-elect of the United States.[11] He became president on January 20, 2021. He is the oldest person to become president and the first from the state of Delaware. He is also the second Catholic president to hold the office after John F. Kennedy.

Early life

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was born on November 20, 1942 at St. Mary's Keller Memorial Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His family were Irish Catholics.[12][13] His father, Joe Sr., was a businessman.[14] When he was young, his family moved to Wilmington, Delaware. He also began to stutter at an early age.[15] In high school, Biden played football and baseball, but he was not a very good student.[14] Biden attended college at the University of Delaware and Syracuse University. He did not have to fight in the Vietnam War because he was going to college and had asthma as a child.[16]

In the Senate

Biden and Jimmy Carter

For many years, Biden was a U.S. Senator from Delaware. Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972 when he was 29 years old. His election was somewhat of a surprise. The other candidate, J. Caleb Boggs, had more experience and more money to spend on his campaign.[17] He is one of the youngest people to become a U.S. Senator, because he was only two months older than the minimum age, 30, required to be one.[18] (While he was 29 during the election, he turned 30 before he became a senator.)

Biden was re-elected to the Senate six times.[19] He became a prominent defender of Israel as a senator, and said that if there was no country like Israel the U.S. would have to make one.[20] Later in his time in the Senate, Biden served as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Foreign Relations committee deals with American issues in other countries. When Biden was chair, the committee dealt with the 1991 Gulf War, the 2003 War in Iraq, and several treaties. The Judiciary Committee dealt with the choice of Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, and others for the Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Biden thought that Thomas and Bork should not be on the Court.[21] Though U.S. senators work in Washington, DC, Biden took the train home to Delaware every night.[22]

Before becoming vice president, Biden was ranked one of the least wealthy members of the Senate,[23][24][25] which he said was because he was young when elected to the Senate.[26] In November 2009, Biden's net worth was $27,012.[27]

Running for President and Vice President

Biden ran for president three times, in 1988, 2008 and 2020. The first time he was viewed as a good choice early on, but quit after it was discovered he gave a speech that was copied from Neil Kinnock, a British politician.[28]

Biden campaigns with then Senator Barack Obama in 2008

Biden tried again to get the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2008 presidential election.[29] He ran mostly on foreign issues, especially getting U.S. troops out of Iraq. Many thought of him as a good choice for Secretary of State.[30] He stopped his campaign on January 3, 2008 after he did not get many votes in the Iowa caucus.[31] However, he later became Barack Obama's pick for vice president due to what he knew about Iraq and because the working class liked him.[32][33]

When Biden was running for president, he criticized Obama, talking about his lack of experience, but later he supported Obama to become president. His opponent as vice president was Sarah Palin, who had less experience but was seen as more interesting by the media.[34] Before the election, there were debates between the different candidates running for president or vice president. In the debate between Biden and Palin, many people believed that he knew more about running America than Palin did.[35] When Obama was elected president on November 4, 2008, Biden was elected vice president.

As Vice President

Biden's official portrait as vice president in 2013
Joe Biden becomes Vice President on January 20, 2009

Biden became the 47th vice president on January 20, 2009. He was vice president until January 20, 2017. He is the first person from Delaware and first Roman Catholic to be vice president.[36] Biden said that his vice-presidency would not be like any other.[37] He said he would do things differently from Dick Cheney, who had been vice president before him.[38]

Biden's main role was as an advisor to Obama on issues of foreign policy and the economy. Obama asked for Biden's input on most major decisions, such as who to put in the Cabinet and how to fight the War in Afghanistan.[37] Obama put Biden in charge of groups to deal with the problems of the working class, and to watch the money in his stimulus bill.[39][40] Biden also traveled to the Middle East several times for Obama and the U.S. while Vice President.[41] In 2011, Biden led talks on the budget and the debt. On November 6, 2012, Biden was re-elected for a second term as vice president along with President Barack Obama.

In August 2015, Biden said that he was thinking of running for president again in the 2016 U.S. election.[42][43] Biden formed a PAC for his possible run.[44] On October 21, speaking from a podium in the Rose Garden with his wife and President Obama by his side, Biden said he would not run for president in 2016.[45][46][47]

Biden never had to break a tie vote in the United States Senate, making him the longest-serving vice president not to do this.[48]

2020 presidential election

Biden at his first presidential campaign rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 2019

During a tour of the U.S. Senate with reporters before leaving office on December 5, 2016, Biden said that a presidential bid was possible in the 2020 presidential election, after leaving office as vice president. While on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on December 7, he stated "never say never" about running for president in 2020, while also saying he did not expect he would run for office again.[49][50] On January 13, 2017, exactly one week before Donald Trump took office. he said he would not run.[51] However, four days later, on January 17, he took the statement back, saying "I'll run if I can walk."[52]

Biden was mentioned by many news outlets as a potential candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination.[53] In March 2019, he said he may run.[54]

Biden in August 2020

He formally launched his campaign on April 25, 2019.[55]

In April 2020, Biden became the only candidate in the primary making him the presumptive nominee for the nomination.[10] At first, he lost the first three primary contests to Senator Bernie Sanders. After winning the South Carolina primary, he gained traction and won most of the Super Tuesday races.

Biden promised when elected he would protect Roe v. Wade decision, create a public option for health insurance, decriminalization of recreational cannabis, pass the Equality Act, create free community college, and a $1.7 trillion climate plan supporting the Green New Deal. He supports regulation instead of a complete ban on fracking.

In early 2020, Biden promised he would pick a woman as his running mate. He also promised that his first Supreme Court appointment would be a black woman.[56] In August 2020, he picked California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.[57]

On November 3, 2020, FiveThirtyEight's statistical model projected that Biden had a 89% chance to defeat Donald Trump.[58] He defeated Trump in the general election after officially being projected as the winner on November 7, 2020.[59] With more than 81 million votes, Biden received the most votes ever cast for a candidate in a U.S. presidential election.[60] However Trump did not call Biden the winner, refused to say he lost and tried to overturn the election results.

President of the United States


Biden when he was the U.S. President-elect in December 2020

Biden was elected the 46th President of the United States in November 2020, defeating the incumbent Donald Trump, the first president to lose re-election since George H. W. Bush in 1992.

He became the second non-incumbent vice president to be elected president, and the first Democrat to do so.[61] He became the oldest president at the time of inauguration. He is the first president from Delaware.

At first, General Services Administrator Emily W. Murphy did not say Biden had won the 2020 election.[62] On November 23, however, she recognized Biden as the winner of the 2020 election and authorized the start of a transition process to the Biden administration.[62]

First 100 days

Biden taking the oath of office at his inauguration on January 20, 2021
Biden's cabinet in April 2021

Biden was inaugurated shortly before noon on January 20, 2021 as the 46th president of the United States.[63][64] At 78, he is the oldest person to become president.[63] He is the second Catholic president (after John F. Kennedy)[65] and the first president whose home state is Delaware.[66]

In his first two days as president, Biden signed 17 executive orders, more than most recent presidents did in their first 100 days. Biden signed more executive orders than any other president since Franklin D. Roosevelt had in their first month in office.[67] His first actions were rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, ending the state of national emergency at the border with Mexico, rejoining the World Health Organization, a 100-day mandatory face mask requirements on federal property and acts to stop hunger in the United States.[68][69][70][71] His presidency has been focused around his Build Back Better Plan agenda.[72]

On February 4, 2021, he announced that the United States will stop giving weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for use in the Yemeni Civil War.[73]

On March 11, 2021, the first anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus relief package.[74] The package included direct payments to most Americans, an extension of increased unemployment benefits, funds for vaccine distribution and school reopenings, support for small businesses and state and local governments, and expansions of health insurance subsidies and the child tax credit.[75] Biden tried to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but removed it from the stimulus package after criticism from both parties.[76][77]

In March 2021, when there was an increase in migrants coming to the United States from Mexico, Biden told migrants: "Don't come over." He said that the U.S. was arranging a plan for migrants to "apply for asylum in place", without leaving their original locations. In the meantime, migrant adults "are being sent back", Biden said, in reference to the continuation of the Trump administration's Title 42 policy for quick deportations.[78] Biden earlier announced that his administration would not deport unaccompanied migrant children and told the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help take care of children separated at the border.[79]

On March 23, 2021, all of his cabinet members were confirmed by the United States Senate. Biden is the first president since Ronald Reagan in 1981 to have all of his original Cabinet secretary nominees confirmed to their posts.[80] Two days later, Biden announced that he would run for re-election in the 2024 election.[81][82]

Rest of 2021

Biden talks to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan about the Fall of Kabul and evacuation efforts, August 2021
Biden at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, November 2021

On April 22–23, Biden held an international climate summit at which he announced that the US would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50%–52% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.[83][84]

On April 28, 2021, Biden addressed the United States Congress in his State of the Union Address.[85] Presiding over this joint session was the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris as President of the Senate ― the first time two women preside over an address to Congress.[85]

On June 17, Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which officially declared Juneteenth a federal holiday.[86] Juneteenth is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was declared a holiday in 1986.[87]

In July 2021, when not many people were getting their COVID-19 vaccine and the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, Biden said that the country has "a pandemic for those who haven’t gotten the vaccination".[88] He also criticized the increase of COVID-19 misinformation on social media, saying it was "killing people".[89]

By early July 2021, most of the American troops in Afghanistan were leaving or had left. On August 15, during an offensive by the Taliban, the Afghan government collapsed.[90] Biden reacted by ordering 6,000 American troops to help the evacuation of American personnel and Afghan allies.[91] He has been criticized for the way he handled the withdrawal.[92] He defended his decision to withdraw, saying that Americans should not be "dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves", since the "Afghan military collapsed [against the Taliban], sometimes without trying to fight".[93]

In August 2021, the Biden administration pushed for an infrastructure bill that can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the United States by 45% by 2030. He would also support lowering taxes for people who invest in renewable energy and electric vehicles and would add a fee on methane emissions.[94] The Senate passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill,[95][96] while the House, also in a bipartisan manner, approved that bill in early November 2021, covering infrastructure related to transport, utilities, and broadband.[97] Biden signed the bill into law in mid-November 2021.[98]


Biden at Camp David after speaking to President Vladimir Putin about Ukraine, February 2022
Biden giving his Battle for the Soul of the Nation speech, September 2022

In the start of 2022, Biden's approval ratings were low. He started speaking more in public.[99] Early in the year, Biden supported ending the U.S. Senate filibuster rule to pass a voting rights act.[100]

In January, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said he would retire from the Supreme Court.[101] Breyer's retirement gave Biden his first chance to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court. Biden had promised to nominate the court's first black female justice.[102] On February 25, Biden nominated D.C. Appeals Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Breyer. She was confirmed on April 7th.[103][104]

On 24 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[105] In response, Biden announced economic sanctions on Russia and Putin.[106]

During 2022, gasoline and other prices rose. Some people blamed Biden's American Rescue Plan for this inflation.[107] Opponents of Biden used "I Did That!" stickers, showed Biden pointing to that phrase, to criticize Biden for high gas prices.[108] In May 2022, there was a nationwide shortage of infant formula.[109]

Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on July 21, 2022.[110][111] Five days later, he left isolation after testing negative.[112] However, on July 30, he tested positive again and went back to isolation.[113]

On August 1, 2022, Biden announced the death of Al-Qaeda Emir Ayman al-Zawahiri in a U.S.-conducted airstrike that he approved.[114]

On September 2, 2022, in a nationally televised Philadelphia speech, Biden said that Americans are in a "battle for the soul of the nation." He called active Trump supporters "semi-fascists," which Republican commentators criticized.[115][116][117]

Republicans were expected to win the 2022 midterm elections. Many commentators thought they would win a large majority in the U.S. House. Some thought the GOP might win the U.S. Senate. However this did not happen. Republicans won a small majority in the U.S. House of Representatives with 222 seats. [118][119][120][121] Democrats kept control of the U.S. Senate, with 51 seats. They actually gained one Senate seat.[122]

It was the first midterm election since 1934 in which the president's party lost no state legislative chambers.[123] Democrats thanked Biden for their unexpectedly good performance in elections,[124] and he celebrated the results as a strong day for democracy.[125]


Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 2023

On November 2, 2022, while packing files at the Penn Biden Center, Biden's lawyers found classified documents "locked closet". These documents were from when he was Vice President.[126][127] According to the White House, the documents were reported that day to the U.S. National Archives. On December 20, a second set of classified documents was discovered in the garage of Biden's Wilmington, Delaware home.[128] In January 2023, these discoveries were announced publicly. On January 12, Attorney General Merrick Garland created a special counsel to investigate.[129] On January 20, after a 13-hour search by FBI investigators, six more items marked classified were taken from Biden's Wilmington home.[130]

On February 20, 2023, four days before the one-year anniversary of the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Biden visited Kyiv and met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady Olena Zelenska.[131] While there, Biden promised more military aid to Ukraine and criticized Vladimir Putin.[132] The trip was unannounced and many people were surprised.[133] Biden became the first sitting U.S. President to go to an active war zone not controlled by the American military since 1864. The last time was Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.[134]

On April 25, 2023, Biden announced his re-election campaign for the 2024 presidential election.[135]

Allegations of physical misconduct

There have been many photographs of Biden hugging, kissing, and touching women and/or children in what commentators said to be inappropriate.[136][137][138] Biden has said that the behavior had got him in trouble in the past.[139]

In March 2019, former Nevada assemblywoman Lucy Flores said that Biden kissed her without consent at a 2014 campaign rally in Las Vegas. Flores wrote that Biden walked up behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair, and kissed the back of her head.[140] In an interview with HuffPost, Flores stated she believed Biden's behavior should force him not to run in 2020.[141] By early April 2019, a total of seven women had made such allegations regarding Biden.[142]

In April 2019, former Biden staffer Tara Reade said that she had felt uncomfortable many times when Biden touched her on her shoulder and neck while working in his Senate office in 1993.[143] In March 2020, Reade said Biden had pushed her against a wall and penetrated her while on Capitol Hill in 1993. Biden denied the allegations.

Personal life

An early photo of Jill and Joe Biden

While in college, he married his first wife, Nelia Hunter. They had three children: two sons (Beau and Robert) and a daughter (Naomi). After college, he became a lawyer and served on a County Council, a group of people who run a county. In 1972, Biden's family got into a car accident. Nelia and Naomi were killed, and Beau and Robert were hurt very badly.[144] Both survived the accident. Beau was the Attorney General in Delaware until January 2015 and served as a soldier in Iraq. Beau died from brain cancer on May 30, 2015 in Bethesda, Maryland at the age of 46.[145] Biden thought of resigning as vice president because of his son's death.[146]

Biden married his second wife, Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden, in 1977.[147] She is a teacher and the former Second Lady of the United States. In 1981, they had a daughter, Ashley, who is now a social worker.[148][149] In 1988, Biden suffered from bleeding in his brain and needed brain surgery twice.[150] Because of what he saw in his family and neighborhood, Biden does not drink alcohol.[14][151]

Biden lives just outside of Wilmington, Delaware and often goes there on the weekends since becoming president.[152] By November 2020, the Bidens were worth $9 million, mainly because of Biden's book sales and speaking fees after his vice presidency.[153][154][155]


In February 1988, Biden had surgery to help heal a brain aneurysm.[156][157] While recuperating, he had a pulmonary embolism and recovered a few months later.[157] In November 2020, while playing with his two dogs Champ and Major, he suffered a stress fracture in his foot and was hospitalized.[158] In July 2022, it was revealed that Biden had some "non-melanoma skin cancers" removed before he became president.[159] That same month, he was diagnosed with COVID-19.[111]

Awards and honors

Vice President Biden visiting Kosovo, May 2009

Biden has received honorary degrees from the University of Scranton (1976),[160] Saint Joseph's University (1981),[161] Widener University School of Law (2000),[162] Emerson College (2003),[163] his alma mater the University of Delaware (2004),[164] Suffolk University Law School (2005),[165] and his other alma mater Syracuse University (2009).[5]

Biden got the Chancellor Medal from his alma mater, Syracuse University, in 1980.[166] In 2005, he got the George Arents Pioneer Medal—Syracuse's highest alumni award[166]—"for excellence in public affairs."[167]

In 2008, Biden got the Best of Congress Award, for "improving the American quality of life through family-friendly work policies," from Working Mother magazine.[168] Also in 2008, Biden shared with fellow Senator Richard Lugar the Hilal-i-Pakistan award from the Government of Pakistan, "in recognition of their consistent support for Pakistan."[6] In 2009, Biden got The Golden Medal of Freedom award from Kosovo, that region's highest award, for his vocal support for their independence in the late 1990s.[169]

Biden is an member of the Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association Hall of Fame.[170]

In 2017, during his final days as president, Barack Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction.[7]

In 2020, Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris were named Time Person of the Year.[171]

Related pages


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