The Untold Truth Of Joe Biden

Joe Biden's political career started early and lasted long — he was the longest-serving senator in Delaware! Becoming a president of the United States was on his list of things to do for quite a while, and he dropped out of the presidential race twice before successfully winning the position.

But it was Biden's private life that pushed him to overcome the biggest of challenges. Beginning his life with a stutter, he experienced the tragic loss of his wife and daughter at the very start of his senator path, forcing him to raise his sons as a single parent while working at the senate. The story repeated 40 years later when his son was dying while he worked as vice president of the U.S. He persisted, focusing on political changes in areas he believed important. Notably, he was one of the key figures behind the authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Bill in 1994, along with its expansions in years after that until 2027.

Here is the untold truth of Joe Biden.

He was born in Scranton

Yes, the same Scranton in Pennsylvania in which "The Office" TV show is set, a small city in northern Pennsylvania. Joe Biden lived in Scranton for 10 years before moving to Delaware with his parents. But he never fully left the city, returning regularly for public appearances and several campaign events. He included his hometown heritage in several of his campaign videos in the presidential campaign of 2020, promoting himself as "a kid from Scranton," emphasizing his small-town heritage to potential voters. He visited the town on different occasions during the campaign, including on Election Day.

But, as Daniel Allott reports for the Washington Examiner, his local endeavors weren't as successful as he wished them to be, with a number of citizens doubting his decision to run for the president — again. Many thought Biden was too old for this position, while others were simply indifferent to the fact that the potential president could be from their area. When the city council tried to name two streets after the president, people protested against the decision, and the official webpage for Lackawanna County doesn't mention Biden's name at all.

He was bullied in school

Many have noticed that Joe Biden sometimes struggles with his speech from time to time, often mixing or missing the right words, even stuttering from time to time. According to the politician himself (via the Los Angeles Times), he has had a stutter for a long time, and he believes it is "the single most defining thing in [his] life." 

Biden's stutter started early in life while he was still in kindergarten, and at the time, not even a speech pathologist helped. Throughout his school years, Biden's condition made him an easy target for hostile bullies, who called him "Joe Impedimenta" or "Dash" (referring to the Morse code-like speech Biden displayed), which led to numerous fights. But it wasn't just the kids — it was the teachers too, and one even called him "Mr. Bu-bu-bu-Biden," which made him leave the classroom. To overcome his stutter, he practiced a lot, memorizing and reciting Irish poetry, which helped him to speak more fluently. He also learned how to anticipate conversations, preparing in advance just to avoid the shame. "It makes you focus on what the other person is made of, what may be on their mind," he said in a speech, per the Los Angeles Times. "It's an incredible asset in my business." 

He was one of the youngest senators in U.S. history

After Joe Biden finished university — one in Delaware and another in New York — he soon entered politics, first as an employee of the New Castle county council between 1970 and 1972. In 1972 he became a senator, the fifth-youngest in the country. He ran for senator again a year later and then again, repeating this six times in total. Winning six consequent mandates made him the longest-serving senator in Delaware.

Coupling his legal career with his time in the public office, Biden often used his legal knowledge to drive his work in the senate. His main priorities involved criminal justice and foreign relations. He was a strong supporter of the U.S. troop deployment to intervene in the Balkan conflict in the 1990s, and he also proposed a division plan to maintain peace in Iraq (though he supported George W. Bush's decision to invade the country). He got involved in the U.S. drug policy as well, authorizing the "drug czar" office for a more unified national drug policy (via Britannica). Still, his role in the drug war and its link to mass incarceration has long been a point of contention for critics of the lifelong politician (per Vox).

He used to teach law

Alongside his position as a senator, Joe Biden dedicated his time to teach students at the Delaware Law School. As an adjunct professor, he taught Constitutional law, merging his book knowledge with his rich experience as a member of Congress (via Widener University). According to his teaching partner, Delaware Law Professor Bob Hayman, Biden offered a rare insight into the government system, along with lots of inspiration for avid learners. 

His attitude was never arrogant. On the contrary, students describe him as grounded and humble, always approaching class in a friendly manner. Biden loved to invite students into vigorous discussions, always making sure no one was left aside. He spoke about other members of the senate in a similar tone, encouraging respectful and civil public conversation. He shared his beliefs about the importance of public services and equal opportunities for all citizens, highlighting the responsibility that comes with public office positions.

He is a supporter of women's rights

One of Joe Biden's greatest achievements as a senator was the authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Bill in 1994, the first legal framework for systematic response to sexual violence and domestic abuse cases. The bill provided a legal framework to fund crisis centers, helplines, and training for law enforcement to know how to deal with domestic violence in the U.S. According to Kendra Steel from the Global GLOW organization, this legislation exposed problematic methods as well as the general attitude of the American public when it came to gender-based violence.

The VAWA bill was regularly updated, in 2000, 2005, and 2013, always under Biden's watchful eye. Biden and his team increased support access and prevention efforts while organizing several national campaigns in fields such as education and the military. In 2022, this time as a president, Biden authorized the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2022. Important additions to new 2022 legislation are allowing tribal courts to prosecute non-Native sex perpetrators on tribal lands and increased support for marginalized communities, along with the reform in the military justice system (via The White House).

He lost several family members

Joe Biden's personal story is a tragic one, as he lost not one but three close family members, all while working on his career in politics. Biden married young, before he even finished his second degree. But a few months after he became a senator for the first time in 1972, his young wife Neilia and their 13-month-old daughter Naomi died in a car crash, while Beau and Hunter, two other children, survived — but with serious injuries (via The Eastern Herald). The family went out to buy a Christmas tree and never returned fully. Second-guessing his political career, Biden decided to continue this path and was sworn in as a senator in a hospital room next to his injured eldest child.

Fast forward to 2015, and Joe Biden was shocked by the death of a family member again, just before the 2016 presidential elections. His son Beau, who served in the National Guard and as attorney general in Delaware, died from glioblastoma two years after brain cancer was discovered. The loss broke Biden's heart and led him to cancel his presidential campaign, fully exhausted from two years of emotional hospital visits and showing support to his son. 

He is not afraid to get emotional

Joe Biden never hid his tragic experiences; on the contrary, he utilized them well to support his public image. He openly speaks about his traumatic experiences and goes deep into the issues using biographical writing. In 2017's emotive "Promise Me, Dad," he opens up about the year his son was dying, all while he was serving as a vice president, describing a life spanning between hospital visits and dealing with several international conflicts. He speaks about his internal battle about whether to enter the presidential campaign (again) or not and his close friendship with Barack Obama, who offered him financial support to pay the medical bills for his son. Obama is mentioned often as both a cherished friend and a political ally. In the book, Biden mentions he would definitely win the 2016 presidential election if he decided to continue with his candidacy. But grief got the best of him at the time, leaving him exhausted (via The Guardian).

"Promise Me, Dad" wasn't the only memoir Biden wrote — he published another, "Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics," in 2008. Here, he describes his beginnings and his struggles with a speech impediment and life-threatening diseases, surviving not one but two aneurysms in 1988. Biden talks a lot about the values that shaped him into the politician he is today: family values, faith, along with perseverance, and honesty (via Harvard Books).

He built his wealth through book publishing and public speaking

Joe Biden's writing career made him a lot of money. The Biden couple expanded their wealth and became millionaires in only a few years, which didn't go unnoticed by Biden's political opponents. An income rise from $396,456 in 2016 to $16,596,979 in 2017-2019 period is not a negligible rise and, for someone who claims he is a middle-class earner, quite a substantial one (via USA Today).

Biden saw massive growth in his wealth after he left his position as vice president in Barack Obama's government, which some saw as suspicious. But because Biden never hid his tax return reports, the tax reports revealed that Joe and Jill Biden earned over $15.6 million between 2017 and 2019 just through public speaking events and publishing deals. "Promise Me, Dad" sold exceptionally well, earning him over $10 million in profits. Jill Biden wrote her own book, "Where the Light Enters," which earned her another $3 million. Speaking fees brought in a bit less, $4.29 million for Joe and $700,000 for Jill (per USA Today).

According to American University in Washington, this is not an unusual practice for politicians, as most former presidents expand their wealth greatly after leaving their position. The winners are Bill and Hillary Clinton, compiling $75 million from speaking and publishing deals.

He lost the presidential election twice

Joe Biden made his first bid for the presidency in 1987. Organizing a big event at Wilmington train station, he invited thousands of people from Delaware, even coordinating bus rides for people from afar. In his speech, he focused on American children and their needs, along with "new economic nationalism," as reported by Delaware Online. He managed to raise more money for his campaign than any other Democrat and began to receive notable support from others in the party. But the race ended for Biden several months later, when he withdrew from the campaign after being accused of plagiarism in his speeches — something that he is still accused of doing (via The New York Post).

His second try was in 2007. This time, 20 years later, he had a much wider network of contacts and supporters but also a different PR approach. Leaning heavily on internet technology, Biden was able to reach a higher number of people, sometimes through classic public stunts, such as a video criticism of George W. Bush. During his campaign, he appeared on different TV channels, including Comedy Central — a pretty unusual choice. He campaigned for energy sufficiency and a public health care system, promising to end tax cuts for the elite. But standing against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Biden didn't have much of a chance, especially after criticizing them publicly in The New York Observer. Calling Obama "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean, and a nice-looking guy" didn't sit well with the readers, and no explanation from Biden couldn't change people's minds (via Delaware Online). Biden resigned from the presidential race a year later.

He loves ice cream

It is not a secret Joe Biden loves ice cream, as he is seen with one quite often. Ice cream can be a serious business, too, as in case of political campaigns. According to Federal Election Commission data, Biden's last presidential campaign bought more than $10,000 worth of  Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (per  Eater). He didn't eat it all himself, though — the ice cream was donated to campaign donors as a thank you gesture. But the decision could be seen as a strategic move since Jeni Britton Bauer — the founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams — is a strong supporter of Biden's politics, inviting him to the company's headquarters in 2016, where Biden gave a speech on wages. The company is based in Ohio, possibly a decisive state for Biden in presidential elections.

Biden is pretty vocal about his love for a frozen dessert, declaring his love publicly on several occasions (per Eater): "My name is Joe Biden, and I love ice cream. You all think I'm kidding — I'm not. I eat more ice cream than three other people you'd like to be with, all at once."

He loves wearing aviators

Joe Biden likes to prove he has a style, adopting the Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses as his own personal trademark. Quite successfully, as the press and the public picked up on it fast, frequently debating his fashion choice. According to the News Journal, Biden often travels around Delaware wearing sunglasses while driving a Corvette (per Vanity Fair). He posted numerous photos on his personal Instagram account showing off the fashion accessory, the most notable must be the first one — a combination of Ray-Bans and a desk in the White House. Even his presidential campaign showcased a picture of the iconic sunglasses.

Biden claims the sunglasses have been accompanying him for years since his youth. He adopted the style during his first year of college when he was working as a lifeguard at the Wilmington Pool in 1962 — the sunglasses were immensely popular at the time, worn by many famous actors and even politicians. But, as Erin Vanderhoof explains for Vanity Fair, Biden's fashion choice could backfire when it comes to young voters who are suspicious of a person who hasn't changed his style for 60 years. Still, the appeal might be there to an older generation that looks to the past to find ideas.