Dr. Jill Biden Responds to That Eyebrow-Raising Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

Incoming First Lady Dr. Jill Biden took to Twitter over the weekend after The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece in which the author claimed she should drop "Dr." from her name.

By Elyse Dupre Dec 14, 2020 8:59 PMTags
Jill BidenRoy Rochlin/Getty Images

Ahem, school is in session.

After The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed arguing Dr. Jill Biden should drop the "Dr." in her name, the incoming first lady took to Twitter to issue a response.

"Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished," she wrote on Sunday, Dec. 13.

Because in Joseph Epstein's Dec. 11th opinion piece, he argued Dr. Biden should forgo the title because she is not a medical doctor.

"Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter," he began. "Any chance you might drop the 'Dr.' before your name? 'Dr. Jill Biden' sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic."

Dr. Biden earned a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007. Her dissertation centered on increasing student retention in community colleges.

"Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title 'Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students' Needs,'" Epstein continued. "A wise man once said that no one should call himself 'Dr.' unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc."

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Epstein went on to assert his opinion right until the end of the piece. "As for your Ed.D., Madame First Lady, hard-earned though it may have been, please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now," he concluded. "Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden."

His words went over about as well as you might expect. After reading the piece, several social media users took to Twitter to slam the article, with many calling it "sexist" and "misogynistic." However, the newspaper double downed.

"If you disagree with Mr. Epstein, fair enough. Write a letter or shout your objections on Twitter," editorial page editor Paul A. Gigot wrote in a separate article. "But these pages aren't going to stop publishing provocative essays merely because they offend the new administration or the political censors in the media and academe. And since it's a time to heal, we'll give the Biden crowd a mulligan for their attacks on us."

Many also showed their support for Dr. Biden and her right to use whatever title she sees fit. "Her name is Dr. Jill Biden," former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote. "Get used to it."

Added Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' husband Doug Emhoff, "Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit. She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country. This story would never have been written about a man."

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Former First Lady Michelle Obama, meanwhile, talked the educator up like only a friend can.

"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," she wrote on Instagram. "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."

Not that she doesn't think Dr. Biden is up to the task. "And this is why I feel so strongly that we could not ask for a better First Lady," she continued. "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."