People magazine has a new Joe & Jill Biden cover story for its February 15 issue (a true Valentine’s Day treat for liberals). The cover copy is syrupy publicity: “Faith, Family & Finding Strength Together: The President & First Lady on surviving tragedy, keeping romance alive – after 43 years! – and starting the nation’s new chapter.”
The questions from reporter Sandra Sobieraj Westfall are her usual puffballs, such as; “You wrote in [your memoir] Promise Me, Dad that the two of you grow stronger and closer under pressure. We’ve seen public marriages—in politics especially—crumble under stress. So what is your secret?”
Also: “Could you do this job without her?” And “Given the stakes in the pandemic and the economic crisis, do you lean into prayer to help you lead?”
But there’s a surprise near the end, on the last page of the interview:
People: One of the first things you did as president was sign tough new ethics rules for appointees. As a father who saw son Hunter [and his business deals in Ukraine and China] come under scrutiny, are you putting up guardrails for family and friends, too, to avoid any appearance of wrongdoing?
President Biden: We’re going to run this like the Obama-Biden administration. No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy. And nobody has an office in this place. They always have access to Pop and Nana, but nobody — I remember years ago, an accountant said, “You know, you can charge [the Senate] part of ghe gas you use in the vehicle at your home.” And I said no. Here’s how I look at it: The foul line is 15 ft. away from the basket. Never get me closer than 17 ft., because it really is a matter of the public trust. [Italics mine.]
Dr. Biden: And we need to rebuild that trust in government.
This is a really unsatisfactory answer if you’re not People magazine. Many of Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine and China happened during the Obama-Biden administration! You don’t have to have an office in the White House or be “involved in any policy” to benefit the way Biden’s family did from his service — sons, sons-in-law, siblings.
But most of the article was gush. Inside the magazine, the interview began with a splashy photo of the couple next to the words “WE SHARE EACH OTHER’S DREAMS: After a breakneck first 7 days, the president and First Lady get real about their joy, surviving heartbreak — and their resolve to give the nation a fresh start.” In one pull quote, Biden said “Other people meditate for me, prayer centers me.”
Four years ago, People split their Trump inauguration coverage with their enthusiasm for the pink pussy-hatted “Women’s March.” Since a nasty “Secrets & Lies” cover for the Trump family in the summer of 2017, People mostly avoided the Trumps during the last presidency.