‘It’s unfortunate Melania’s not doing the traditional protocol’: Ashley Biden confirms First Lady has snubbed her mom Jill with no White House handover – and admits she’s worried about her father’s inauguration safety after ‘horrifying’ riot
- Ashley, 39, is the only child of Joe, 78, and his wife Jill, 69
- She has a half-brother Hunter, 50, the President-elect’s son with late wife Neilia
- The future First Daughter has remained largely out of the spotlight during her father’s career, but has taken on a more public-facing role in recent months
- In her first televised interview, Ashley spoke with her former First Daughter and Today host Jenna Bush Hager about her father’s inauguration on Wednesday
- She said she is ‘worried’ about Biden’s safety at the event, particularly in the light of the riots at the Capitol earlier this month
- Ashley also discussed outgoing First Lady Melania’s lack of contact with her mother Jill, confirming that she is not ‘doing the traditional protocol’
- Traditionally, the outgoing First Lady welcomes her successor to the White House for a ‘tea and tour’ visit to help ease her into the new role
- Melania, 50, has not reached out to Jill at all, Ashley confirmed
- Ashley also revealed she will not follow in Ivanka Trump’s footsteps and take up a role in her father’s administration, but said she still hopes to ‘use her platform’
President-elect Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley says she is ‘worried’ about her father’s safety at Wednesday’s inauguration in light of the ‘horrifying’ MAGA riots at the Capitol earlier this month.
In her first televised interview, the 39-year-old future First Daughter shared her fears for her 78-year-old father, while confirming that her mother Jill, 69, has had no contact from Melania Trump, describing the outgoing First Lady’s decision to skip ‘traditional protocols’ as ‘unfortunate’.
24 hours before Biden is inaugurated at the 46th President of the United States, Ashley voiced her concerns over the safety of the event, telling former First Daughter and Today host Jenna Bush Hager: ‘I think anybody you love who is being threatened or… yes, you worry.’
Personal: Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley has appeared in her first televised interview, during which she discussed her ‘worry’ about her father’s safety at the inauguration on Wednesday
Concern: ‘I think anybody you love who is being threatened or… yes, you worry,’ the 39-year-old told Today host and former First Daughter Jenna Bush Hager
‘Unfortunate’: Ashley also confirmed that her mother Jill (pictured together with Biden in 2008) has not had any contact from outgoing First Lady Melania Trump
However Ashley, who has remained largely out of the spotlight during her father’s political career, said she takes some comfort from knowing how ‘incredible’ the Secret Service are, adding: ‘He has so much protection, so in that way, I don’t [worry].’
The latest handover of presidential power has been unlike any other in US history for a number of reasons – not least because it comes just two weeks after a group of MAGA protesters stormed the Capitol building in a violent attack that many have accused President Donald Trump of encouraging.
Speaking about the riots, Ashley said she was ‘deeply saddened’ by the violence – particularly because the Capitol holds such historical significance, as well as many personal memories for her family.
‘This was a place I grew up going as a child… and a place where dad has worked for over 30 years, a sacred place really,’ she said. ‘And to see what happened, to see what was going on, it was truly horrifying.
‘The violence deeply saddens me, and it causes so much trauma.’
Ashley – who is Biden’s only child with wife Jill – did not discuss President Trump during the interview, however she did speak briefly about the ‘unfortunate’ lack of communication between his wife Melania and her mother Jill.
Traditionally, the handover of power between the outgoing and incoming Presidents and their families includes a First Ladies’ ‘tea and tour’ around the White House, during which the wife of the newly-elected leader can ask her predecessor questions and is given an introduction to residence staff.
This year, that will not happen, Ashley confirmed, while noting that her mother has not heard from Melania at all.
‘No, I don’t think they’re doing the traditional protocol, which is unfortunate, but I think we’re all OK with it,’ she said.
As for her role as First Daughter, Ashley revealed that she will not not follow in predecessor Ivanka Trump’s footsteps by taking up an official role within her father’s administration.
‘I will not have a job with the administration,’ she said.
‘I will however hopefully use this platform to advocate for social justice, for mental health, to be involved in community development and revitalization.
‘I do hope to bring awareness and education to some topics, subjects that are really important.’
Unlike Ivanka, 39, who was a well-known New York City socialite and business founder by the time her father entered the White House, Ashley has always shied away from the public eye – despite finding herself at the center of a few scandals when she was younger.
Like her older half-brother Hunter, whose mother is Joe’s late wife Neilia Hunter, the incoming First Daughter has had several public brushes with the law. She was reportedly arrested in 1999 for possession of marijuana, and again in 2002 for obstructing a police officer.
In recent years, however, she has turned her life around, focusing on building a career in social work and social justice — and her appearance on the Today show suggests she is poised to take on a more public-facing role when her father officially becomes President on Wednesday.
Ashley did not address her older brother’s troubled personal life, however she made a thinly-veiled swipe at the public scrutiny over the controversies that have clouded Hunter, 50, and the rest of her family.
‘In those [darkest] moments, we had each other,’ she said of the media coverage of her father and the rest of her family.
‘Yes it hurts, but you also know the truth. At the end of the day, they may get it wrong, but at least I got it right. At least I know the real deal. I know the type of man my father is, and the woman my mother is, and the man my brother is.’
Hunter has come under a great deal of scrutiny over his colorful personal life, including his drug addiction, for which he has been admitted to rehab on several occasions since 2003.
In 2018, her dad hit the headlines again when it was revealed that he had fathered a child with Arkansas-based stripper Lunden Roberts.
In October 2020, just days before the election, Hunter sparked furious scandal once again when the New York Post published emails and documents that were allegedly taken from the hard drive of a laptop that he had left at a Delaware computer store.
The Post was given a copy of the hard drive by President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The laptop contained a series of emails, as well as personal photos, including several of a sexually-explicit nature, according to the Post.
Family first: Ashley, who is Joe and Jill’s only child, was raised with two half-brothers, Hunter, 50 (center) and Beau (right), who passed away from brain cancer in May 2015
Tragedy: Biden’s first wife Neilia and their infant daughter Naomi (center) died in a car crash in December 1972. Their sons Hunter (left) and Beau (right) survived the accident
Poignant: Ashley said that the tragic loss of his first wife and daughter, and the later death of his son Beau, has helped her father to make his family his ‘number one’ priority
Then, in December of last year, Hunter confirmed that the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware was investigating his tax affairs.
Noting that public ‘cruelty and meanness’ are the reason she doesn’t have a public social media account, Ashley explained that she has tried to ‘have boundaries for herself’.
She also defended her father against stories about his public gaffes; the President-elect has made several slip-ups during events and speeches, including verbal stumbles, mixing up numbers, and referring to members of his family by the wrong name.
However Ashley insisted that Biden is not a ‘gaffe machine’, describing him as ‘brilliant’ and ‘smart’.
‘I thought that the media always got it wrong when they made him out to be this gaffe machine, or that he wasn’t as smart,’ she said. ‘The man is brilliant.’
She then heaped praise on her parents’ relationship, agreeing with Jenna’s description of their ‘inspiring love’ – and confirming public perception that her mother Jill is her father’s ‘best political asset’.
‘They really do [have a great love that is inspiring],’ she said. ‘Mom keeps dad grounded. She will always remind him to take out the trash. Dad loves his Raisin Bran in the morning, and she’s like, “Joe, wash that bowl, don’t put it in the sink.”
‘I agree [that she is his best political asset]. You know she’s straight up with dad. She’s fierce and extremely loyal.’
Ashley credited her father with making sure that his family is his ‘number one’ priority, explaining that the loss of his first wife Neilia, daughter Naomi, and son Beau have helped him to realize the importance of prioritizing loved ones.
Poignant: The future First Daughter (pictured with her parents and siblings in 1987) said she and her father believe that her late brother Beau (right) was with them on the campaign trail
High praise: She credited her mother Jill (pictured together in 2016) with being Biden’s ‘best political asset’ and said she keeps the President-elect ‘grounded’
‘Dad is so empathetic and has the ability to recognize pain, to feel others’ pain, and to comfort. It’s also made family his number one,’ she said.
‘We have a rule still today that no matter where dad is, no matter what meeting, if one of the kids calls, you have to get him out.’
Biden lost wife and infant daughter in car accident before Christmas 1972, and then his eldest son Beau died from brain cancer in May 2015.
Speaking about the loss of her older half-brother, Ashley shared how much she misses spending time with her sibling, describing him as a ‘fine man’.
‘Happiness is being with my brothers,’ she said. ‘[Beau] was such a fine man. He was such a man of integrity. But he also had a kind of fun, goofy side, a great sense of humor. I just miss being with him…. being in the same room saying nothing.’
Both Ashley and her father believe that Beau was present during Biden’s presidential campaign, and she pointed to one particularly poignant memory before her dad was chosen as the Democratic candidate when they both felt his presence.
‘I remember when we were in South Carolina, things weren’t looking so great, and we went and found a small community church, we didn’t tell anybody,’ she recalled.
‘We went in by ourselves, we sat in the back. And the song that reminds dad of Beau is He Will Raise You Up On Eagle’s Wings. And all of a sudden in this small little church on the speakers, is the song. And dad and I looked at each other, started bawling, hugged, and we’re like, “This is Beau.”
‘And then I was like, “Beau did you have to raise us really that far up?”‘
She added: ‘[Beau] was 46 when he passed… dad will be the 46th President.’
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