Wife wars? The real reason the Obamas are not standing up for Biden (2024)

When Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States in 2021, much was made of his wife Dr Jill Biden becoming the first First Lady ever to hold a salaried outside job.

It is somewhat ironic that Dr Biden, who continues to work as a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, should now be fighting the rearguard action for her husband to keep his own job in the Oval Office.

President Biden’s calamitous performance in last week’s debate against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump raised renewed questions over his health, age and faculties.

These concerns have been exacerbated by post-debate polls showing increasing support for Trump. Yet the First Lady, 73, has come out swinging in defence of her 81-year-old husband. She told a New York campaign fundraiser, “Joe isn’t just the right person for the job. He’s the only person for the job.”

Last Monday she was unveiled on the cover of US Vogue magazine in a Ralph Lauren white gown. “We will continue to fight,” she told Vogue.

But while the fall-out surrounding President Biden’s attempts to salvage his second term presidential prospects continues, a riveting subplot is going on behind the scenes involving former first lady Michelle Obama.

In news first reported by Axios, Michelle Obama has reportedly grown frustrated with the Biden family, principally over their perceived treatment of Kathleen Buhle following her divorce from Hunter Biden, the President’s only surviving son.

This has resulted in the erstwhile First Lady – who remains hugely popular among Democrat voters alongside her husband former President Barack Obama – refusing to publicly back Biden.

At the same time as the former First Lady being conspicuously silent in her support for President Biden’s re-election campaign, she has become close to Buhle, allegedly strongly objecting to how the Biden family treated her amid lurid revelations concerning her ex-husband’s drug use and infidelity.

Last month Hunter Biden was convicted for lying about his drug use when buying a handgun. His sentencing hasn’t been scheduled but separately he faces a tax crimes trial in September.

According to reports, Michelle Obama is unimpressed both by how the Bidens cast aside Buhle and their attitude to Hunter’s illegitimate daughter Navy Joan Roberts, now five years old. Her mother Lunden Roberts has hit out at the Bidens for “having excluded” her daughter with Hunter, with the President only acknowledging his seventh grandchild a year ago.

Following her divorce from Hunter, with whom she has three daughters, Buhle reverted back to her maiden name and went on to found Washington DC-based high-powered women’s leadership social club The House at 1229 last year.

The House at 1229 states on its social media profile that it comprises “a community of women with different backgrounds and experiences who share the same core beliefs”. The non-profit organisation hosts events, fundraisers, talks and book launches in the nation’s capital covering a range of themes. At its inaugural event Sharon Malone, the wife of President Obama’s former Attorney General Eric Holder, spoke about the menopause.

One attendee at House at 1229’s event on artificial intelligence last April, sponsored by Meta, owner of Facebook and Instagram, told The Telegraph, “It was an interesting gathering of people from media, politics and tech. There was a presentation from Meta about their AI strategy and a side room where you could try their Quest 3 headset, which was weird because we were at an elite women’s club and paying court to the ultimate tech bro Mark Zuckerberg! But Meta gave the club a nice donation.”

The source added “It was a nice antidote to the usual rancour of DC politics. I wasn’t pressured to give money. They weren’t as aggressive about soliciting donations from guests as other non-profits. There wasn’t much anti-Biden talk, but I got the impression their overriding goal is to work towards electing the first female Democratic President.”

While The House at 1229 is closed to most media outlets, its happenings are assiduously chronicled on White House Correspondents Insider, a website co-founded and edited by Tammy Haddad, a veteran Washington media socialite who has close ties to the organisation.

One entry on the website reported a presidential debate watching party at The House at 1229 last week where guests, including Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter and Geraldine Byrne Nason, Irish Ambassador to the United States, watched the President’s fumble at the club founded by his ex-daughter-in-law.

“The exclusive gathering brought together a diverse array of Washington DC’s most influential figures including politicians, diplomats, policy experts and media personalities… attendees took to their seats in front of an oversized screen and watched in anticipation as this historic and pivotal moment in American politics unfolded.” It is unknown if Buhle herself attended that debate party.

The attendee added: “Michelle Obama is good friends with Kathleen Buhle. They bonded when their children went to the same school. She’s certainly an ally of The House at 1229 but I don’t think she shows up to many events. She’s got her own female empowerment groups to support but I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s soon given an award by them.”

Dr Jill Biden will definitely not be pitching up at The House at 1229 anytime soon. Her family’s reported estrangement with Michelle Obama marks the latest twist in a complex relationship between the Biden and Obama political dynasties. Fierce rivals for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Obama selected Biden as his Vice President and the two families became close over the course of the two terms they served.

In 2011 Michelle Obama collaborated with Dr Biden on the Joining Forces initiative to support military families. “Joe Biden was a great running mate for Barack for many reasons, including that our two families instantly hit it off,” Michelle Obama wrote in her bestselling memoir Becoming.

However with Obama and Biden having profoundly different personalities, the relationship between the two political dynasties soured when the-then President openly favoured Hillary Clinton over Biden to be the Democrat presidential candidate in 2016.

“Barack Obama needed Joe Biden to promote stability and give him a connection to the Washington, DC establishment when he was a candidate,” Democratic political strategist Matthew Klink told The Telegraph.“However, that relationship changed once President Obama settled into office.

“Joe Biden is a gaffe machine and for Barack Obama, these flubs were frustrating. Don’t forget the statement attributed to Obama, ‘Never underestimate Joe’s ability to f--- stuff up.’ Now, Joe Biden needs to link closely to the most popular Democrat in the US to demonstrate strength and keep the party united. But Obama is strangely silent.”

A former Biden aide told The Telegraph he is unsurprised at the President’s current plight. “The dysfunction I saw in the Biden circle is at play today,” they said. “The insularity of the Bidens was chilling and my experience, as well as that of many of my friends, was frustration at their public image being so different from the reality.”

They added they were also not shocked to hear of tension between the Bidens and Michelle Obama: “Barack kicked Joe to the curb in 2016. But you’ve got to question Jill Biden’s judgment for how much she has shielded President Biden. I worked for Joe Biden for several years and I recall Jill saying to me, ‘You’re always at his events and I always see you but who are you?’ She had no idea what I did! I never felt she was a serious strategist with a voice at the table other than advising what jacket he should be wearing in a commercial.”

Others however warn the passionate support the Bidens command can easily be underestimated. The distinguished writer Joseph Epstein found this out the hard way after he wrote a lighthearted editorial for the Wall Street Journal in 2020 ridiculing Jill Biden for using the honorific she received for her PhD in education.

“I was astonished at the virulence of the response that myWSJop-ed on the pretension of Jill Biden calling herself doctor received,” Mr Epstein told The Telegraph. “I received hundreds of emails, mostly from women, wishing me dead and calling me all sorts of names, the most memorable of which was “a Jewish c--t.”

Time will tell whether Dr Jill Biden’s energetic advocacy will succeed in keeping her husband in the White House. But whatever the extent of Michelle Obama’s antipathy towards the Bidens, sources say that despite recent polls showing the former First Lady herself being the only Democrat candidate capable of beating Donald Trump in an election, she would never run for the Presidency.

“Why would Michelle Obama want to be President?”, the former Biden aide said. “She is one of the only people on the planet who has the freedom and resources to do whatever she wants. Who would trade that [for] what politics has become today?”

Wife wars? The real reason the Obamas are not standing up for Biden (2024)

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