The Bidens Open Up About Their 'Surreal' Life In The White House

It's been nearly two weeks since the Biden administration moved into the White House. Even though newly minted President Joe Biden has worked there before, he admits the experience of becoming the chief tenant of the space he became acquainted with as vice president, is far from ordinary. "It's surreal ... but it's comfortable. We were here for eight years, just not in this part of the residence. Spent a lot of time in the Cabinet Room and the Oval with the president. So upstairs [in the private family quarters] is new," President Biden revealed to People in the president and first lady's first interview since Inauguration Day. "The residence staff has been so great, trying to make it feel like home for us. We have family pictures all around, our books, some furniture we brought from home," First Lady Jill Biden added.  


Everything has been exciting since Biden was sworn in, even the act of walking through the doors of the White House. "I remember opening the door and walking through and [thinking] ok, it's us... it's US," he continued. "The excitement was palpable. We are so, so fortunate to have the son and daughter we have, and the grandkids we have. And they worked like [a] devil to get here, too. They felt good about it."

An inauguration like no other

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the Biden administration kicked off its four years in a style that has never been seen before. More than 30 million might have tuned in to watch the inaugural ceremony on television (via the Los Angeles Times), yet only a handful of past and present senior government officials were on hand to witness the historic event. Festive inaugural balls were replaced by a star-studded primetime special, which was also broadcast to millions of people around the world. 


The Biden family itself celebrated in the Blue Room of the White House residence, and if there was anyone who wondered whether the president felt a small pang of sadness over the unconventional, audience-free inauguration, Biden says he actually wouldn't have it any other way. First Lady Dr. Jill called the whole night "magical" and the president said, "It was great. There was no other place I would have rather been than with the kids" (via People).

Eagle-eyed viewers would have spotted the wrist corsage worn by the first lady as they viewed the fireworks from the White House balcony. "I love gardenias and so Joe would buy me a wrist corsage of gardenias," Dr. Biden added. "I think [the first time] was for Valentine's Day and it's just a tradition. He surprised me with it. I was just surprised that people actually saw it on my wrist, but I guess with a zoom lens you see everything."


First Lady Dr. Jill Biden is keeping her day job

Now that the new first family has settled down in the White House, there may be those of us that are wondering whether Dr. Biden intends to keep her word about keeping and her day job; and the short answer, is yes. The first lady or "Dr B." continues to teach English — albeit via Zoom — at the Northern Virginia Community College (via People).


As Dr. Biden tells it, she couldn't imagine giving up her work in education. "I teach writing. I taught all eight years that I was second lady. That's my passion, that's my life." The president added: "The thing that surprises me is how much energy Jill gets from her students. The students she teaches, these are foreign students or people who weren't the people who graduated from high school, but they're remaking their lives. It's an inspiration. It's energy for Jill, but it's a lot of work."

The Bidens share their secret to their enduring marriage

The country's new first couple took the opportunity to share their secret to a partnership that has lasted for 43 years (and counting). For the president, it isn't enough to say that a marriage needs equal effort from both sides, because there are moments when more effort would be required from one spouse than the other. "Sometimes, you have to be 70/30," he says. He points to the fact that there will be days one one partner might feel more despondent — and in times like those, the other partner will need to step up to the plate (via People).


Biden also feels that seeing the first lady continue on with her career is a blessing. "I've read all that data as well about families under pressure, and that's why I'm glad she kept her profession. It's really important that she's an educator... It's important that she has the things that she cares a great deal about, her independence. And yet we share each other's dreams."

Do they fight? Of course they do. While the president admits that they do, but that he's (still) lucky, the first lady has pointed out that "after 43 years of marriage there's really not that much more to fight about."