Meet our First and Second Family

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US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden pose with their family in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the “Celebrating America” event at the Lincoln Memorial after his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States in Washington, DC, January 20, 2021. (Photo by JOSHUA ROBERTS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JOSHUA ROBERTS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Arielle Biran, Staff Writer

Barring the chance that the Trumps have forgotten a certain 6’4 fourteen-year-old boy upon packing their belongings, we have an entirely new set of people roaming the halls of the White House. Biden’s adoration for his family, especially his grandchildren, is no secret.

Although many of them will not live with him in the White House, the close nature of their relationships suggests that they will be visiting often. Also not living in the White House, however just as notable, is the family of Vice President Harris, who set just as much of a historical precedent as our first female Vice President does. 

Before marrying Dr. Jill Biden, Joe Biden married Neilia Hunter in 1966, and they had three children; Beau, Hunter, and Naomi Biden. In 1972, Neilia and her three children in a devastating car accident, killing Neilia and Naomi. Beau and Hunter suffered traumatic injuries but ultimately survived.

In 1977, Joe found love again with Dr. Jill Biden neé Jacobs, our current First Lady, and they had a daughter, Ashley Biden. The loss of his daughter and wife at such a young age explains why President Biden values his family so much. This is also reflected through his relationships with his remaining children and grandchildren.

The eldest Biden child was Beau Biden, the former Delaware attorney general who served as a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, earning a Bronze medal while serving his first term in Iraq. In May of 2015, Beau passed away from brain cancer, his wife, Hallie, and two children, Natalie and Robert Biden surviving him.

Natalie, though only sixteen, contributed to her grandfather’s campaign by discussing youth voter turnout on the social media platform TikTok, along with model Kaia Gerber. At fourteen years old, Robert Biden is not as politically outspoken about his grandfather as the rest of his cousins but has made a handful of appearances with his grandfather throughout the years, including his 2008 vice-presidential acceptance speech and the 2021 inauguration.

The second Biden son, Hunter, has been the source of controversy throughout the years. He also became the object of  Trump’s petty comments, when his drug addiction was brought up during the first presidential debate. He made headlines when it was revealed that Trump was pressuring Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden’s taxes, which resulted in Trump’s first impeachment.

Hunter is the father to Naomi, Finnegan, and Maisy Biden, whom he shares with his ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, and 11-month-old Beau Biden, who he shares with his wife, Melissa Cohen. 

Naomi Biden, the eldest grandchild who is named for her late aunt, attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she was in the same graduating class as Tiffany Trump. Currently, Naomi lives in Washington D.C., so it seems that we will be seeing a lot of her.

Also attending the University of Pennsylvania, Finnegan, Hunter’s middle daughter, frequented the campaign trail with her grandfather. Finnegan has often remarked on growing up alongside her childhood friends, Malia and Sasha Obama.

Maisy Biden, also a student at the University of Pennsylvania, has been very vocal in advocating her support for her grandfather on social media, especially Tiktok, where she has amassed almost two hundred thousand followers.

At only 11 months old, Beau Biden, who was named for his late uncle, is not exactly the political activist the rest of his cousins are but was present at his grandfather’s inauguration.

Ashley Biden, the youngest Biden child, and Jill’s only biological daughter, set the family precedent of attending the University of Pennsylvania. Though she will not hold a position in her father’s administration, she has said that she hopes to use her platform to “advocate for social justice, for mental health – to be involved in community development and revitalization.” While she has no children, she is married to plastic surgeon, Howard Krein, who works at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. The couple lives in Philadelphia, so keep an eye out, and you just might see them in Rittenhouse Square.

As for the Harris family, our Vice President’s roots have long been the subject of scrutiny from racists, misogynists, and flat-out idiots. In 1964, Kamala was born to a Jamaican father, Donald Harris, and an Indian mother, Shaymala Golapan, making Harris our first Black, South Asian, and female Vice President, despite delusional conspiracy theorists who say otherwise.

Kamala is especially close with her sister Maya, who was the campaign chairwoman for Harris’s presidential campaign. Maya’s daughter, Meena, is also an outspoken advocate for her aunt and has amassed over four million followers on social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

Another branch of Kamala’s family tree expands with Doug Emhoff, who is making history as America’s first Second Gentleman and the first Jewish spouse of a Vice President. While Harris is not the biological mother of Emhoff’s children, Cole and Ella, she is still a very important maternal figure in their lives, so much so that they have lovingly dubbed her as “Momala”, and she describes them as her “endless source of love and pure joy.” Cole is a Colorado College graduate, while Ella attends Parsons School of Fashion. 

Both siblings stay relatively out of the spotlight, but in an interview with the New York Times, Cole opens up about a moment with his stepmother, saying, “I was a senior when they got together, and I remember I saw a tweet that someone did. It was a photo of Kamala at the Kavanaugh hearing, and someone tweeted, like, ‘I’d hate to have to look at that face and explain why I’m late for curfew.’

And I was thinking, ‘I’ve literally had to do that.’” The adorable dynamic within the Harris-Emhoff family makes me excited to see how Cole, Ella, and Doug will take an active role during Kamala’s term.

Both the Biden and the Harris families are sure to play an instrumental role in the terms of their famous family members, whether it be cheering them on from the sidelines or helping them review legislation. The close-knit bonds within the Biden family will hopefully make America seem like home again, after the tumultuous four years we had under the Trumps.

The role of Doug Emhoff as the first second gentleman, as well as the first Jewish spouse of a Vice President, while his wife serves as the first Black and South Asian female Vice President functions as a beam of hope for the direction that our country is going in. As the next four years ensue, we can only hope that our new first and second families will be nothing like the last.