Thursday, May 19

A swing, briefings, a dog: Biden’s White House

Sunday mass, a swing and a dog on the lawn, daily briefings… The White House of Joe and Jill Biden sends back a perfectly polished image of normality, breaking with the Trump mandate.

Here are five examples, not as anecdotal as they seem.

– Dogs and cat

Donald Trump had no dog, unheard of for an American president in recent history.

Joe and Jill Biden are surrounded by German Shepherds. The death of the old Champ, in June, gave rise to a press release.

Major, adopted from a shelter, showed too much fangs, he was sent to a more peaceful setting.

It is now Commander, a young German shepherd with long ears, who frolics on the lawns of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

A cat should join him.

– Swing

The Trump offspring had strategic positions, the Biden clan has a swing under the windows of the Oval Office and socks hanging from the fireplace at Christmas: Joe Biden, alongside his wife Jill Biden, poses as a quiet grandfather.

On weekends, his predecessor would go golfing, often in Florida. Joe Biden sometimes indulges in the same sport, but in a less flashy setting. He escapes as soon as he can to the large family home in Delaware, where he surrounds himself with his clan, especially his grandchildren.

Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were ubiquitous, Joe Biden’s children, Ashley and Hunter, are much more discreet.

But Hunter Biden is arousing some interest, with his addiction past detailed in a book, his retraining as a painter and allegations of corruption.

– Religion

Donald Trump, although backed by prominent evangelical figures, was hardly practicing. Joe Biden goes to mass almost every weekend, wherever he is.

This devout Catholic talks about the comfort found in faith in overcoming the death of his eldest son Beau from cancer in 2015 and the death in 1972 of his first wife and their still-baby daughter in a car accident.

The Democrat reserved one of his longest presidential interviews for Pope Francis. The meeting was not without political ulterior motives: Joe Biden supports the right to abortion, to the chagrin of the American bishops.

– Hurry

The daily White House briefing is led most often by its spokeswoman, Jen Psaki. For an hour each day, she answers, and sometimes politely dodges, all sorts of questions, in a perfectly tuned ballet.

Even his acid exchanges with the correspondent of the conservative channel Fox News seem choreographed.

Under Donald Trump, this practice of the press briefing had fallen into disuse. But the Republican president, while professing his hostility to the press, spoke extensively to reporters.

Joe Biden is content to answer, in a more or less pithy way, a question or two before getting on Air Force One or at the end of a speech.

According to the University of California-Santa Barbara, the Democrat has held nine press conferences so far (another is scheduled for January 19), compared to 22 for Donald Trump during the first year of his mandate.

He gave 22 interviews, compared to 92 for his predecessor.

– Health

Donald Trump was obsessed with germs and physical stamina.

To this day, questions remain about the severity of his condition when he contracted Covid-19. He went so far as to dictate a letter to his doctor in December 2015 assuring that he would be the “healthiest person ever elected president”.

Joe Biden, the oldest president ever elected in the United States, who is 79 today, has promised the most perfect transparency.

In November, he underwent a colonoscopy under anesthesia, during which Vice President Kamala Harris provided a historic interim of one hour and twenty-five minutes.

His doctor then issued a detailed statement, deeming him in “good health”, despite frequent coughing and a stiff gait, attributed to minor ailments.

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