Joe Biden Biography: All you need to know about the 46th President of the United States

78-year-old Biden sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States on 20 January 2021. Kamala Harris also sworn-in as the 49th Vice-President of the United States at the US Capitol during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony.
Created On: Jan 21, 2021 11:08 IST
Modified On: Jan 21, 2021 11:11 IST
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is the 46th President of the United States. He defeated incumbent President Donald Trump in 2020 Presidential Election. 78-year-old Biden took oath as the 46th President of the United States on 20 January 2021 along with Kamala Harris as the  49th Vice-President of the United States. 

Prime Minister Modi congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris upon assuming the office on 20 January 2021. 

On day one, hours after taking the office, Joe Biden signs 17 executive orders to undo Trump’s administration, which his aides said have caused 'greatest damage' to the United States. 

During the Obama Administration, Biden served as the 47th Vice-President from 2009 to 2017 and from 1973 to 2009, he represented Delaware in the US Senate. 

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Joe Biden: Birth, Early Life and Education

Joe Biden was born on 20 November 1942 to Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Biden and Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. at St. Mary's Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S. His father was initially wealthy but fell into economic decline around the time Biden was born. At school, Biden was class President in his junior as well as senior years. 

In 1965, he earned a B.A. degree with a double major in History and Political Science; and a minor in English. In his early years, Biden used to stammer which he gradually improved by reciting poetry before a mirror. In the year 1968, Biden earned a Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law and got admitted to Delaware bar in 1969. Joe Biden received student draft deferments at school but was later classified unavailable for military service due to asthma.

Joe Biden: Career

In 1968, Biden served as a clerk at a Wilmington law firm headed by prominent local Republican William Prickett where he thought himself as a 'Republican' and disliked incumbent Democratic Delaware governor Charles L. Terry. He rather supported liberal Republican, Russell W. Peterson. 

In 1969, he started practising law as a public defender and then at a firm headed by a locally active Democrat where he subsequently registered as a Democrat. 

In 1970, he ran for the 4th District Seat on the New Castle County Council on a liberal platform. He won the General Election and took office on 5 January 1971 and served till 1 January 1973. He was succeeded by Democrat Francis R. Swift.

In 1972, he defeated Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs to become the junior U.S. senator from Delaware. He had no chance of winning as his campaign had almost no money and was the only Democrat to challenge Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs. His family members campaigned for him-- meeting the voters face-to-face and distributing papers. 

Views on certain issues

In a 1974 interview, he described himself as liberal on civil rights and liberties, senior citizens' concerns and healthcare but conservative on other issues, including abortion and the military conscription. In 1981, he became ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

In the year 1984, Biden was a Democratic floor manager of the controversial Comprehensive Crime Control Act which included  Federal Assault Weapons Ban and the Violence Against Women Act. In 2019, Biden cited his role in passing the said bill as a 'big mistake'. 

In 1993, Biden voted in favour of banning gays from serving in the armed forces and in 1996, in favour of Defense of Marriage Act. The Act prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. In the Obergefell v. Hodge case, the Act was ruled unconstitutional in 2015. 

On 9 June 1987, he declared his candidacy for the 1988 Democratic Presidential nomination. However, after his false or exaggerated claims over his early life, Biden withdrew from the race on 23 September 1987. 

From 1987 to 1995, Biden chaired the  Senate Committee on the Judiciary and from 1981 to 1987 and from 1995 to 1997, he was ranking minority member.

In 1997, he became a ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. From 2001 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2009, he chaired the said Committee. 

18th longest-serving Senator in the U.S. History

Joe Biden was elected to the Senate in 1972 and was re-elected in  1978, 1984, 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008-- becoming the 18th longest-serving Senator in the U.S. History (as of 2020). 

2008 Presidential Election

Biden chose not to run for US Presidential Elections in 1992 and 2004. In January 2007, he declared his candidacy in the 2008 Presidential Election. However, on 3 January 2008, he withdrew from the race. 

After his withdrawal, Obama requested Biden for the vice-presidential post in his administration, which was initially turned down by Biden. However, after conducting secret meetings with Biden, Obama announced Joe Biden as his running mate. 

2012 Presidential Election

In October 2010, Obama requested Biden as his running mate for the 2012 Presidential Election. However, on the basis of secret polling conducted by White House Chief of Staff William M. Daley, there were plans to replace Biden on the ticket with Hillary Clinton. On 6 November 2012, both Barack Obama and Joe Biden were announced as the President and Vice-President of the U.S. respectively. 

On 21 October 2015, Biden announced not to run for 2016 Presidential Election. 

2020 Presidential Election 

On 25 April 2019, Joe Biden launched his campaign for 2020 Presidential Election and on 11 August 2020, he announced U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California as his running mate. She is the first African American and South Asian American vice-presidential nominee on a major-party ticket.

In November 2020, Biden was elected as the 46th President and his running mate Kamala Harris as the Vice-President of the United States, defeating the incumbent Donald Trump and Mike Pence. With this, he became the first candidate to defeat a sitting president since Bill Clinton who defeated George H. W. Bush in 1992. He is also the second non-incumbent Vice-President (after Richard Nixon in 1968) to be elected president.

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Joe Biden: Personal Life

On 27 August 1966, Biden married Neilia Hunter. The couple gave birth to three children-- Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, Robert Hunter Biden, and Naomi Christina "Amy" Biden.

A few weeks after the election, Biden's wife Neilia and Naomi were killed in an automobile accident while Christmas shopping in Hockessin, Delaware on 18 December 1972. 

Biden met Jill Tracy Jacobs on a blind date in 1975 and married on 17 June 1977 at the United Nations chapel, New York. The couple gave birth to Ashley Blazer.

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