Jill Biden is weighing in after a widely panned opinion column in the Wall Street Journal sparked outrage for chastising the educator for using the honorific "Dr." in her title. The next first lady, who earned her doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007, decided to keep it short and sweet while breaking her silence on social media on Sunday, Dec. 13. Unsurprisingly, Jill Biden's response to the Wall Street Journal op-ed about her doctorate took the high road by refusing to even acknowledge writer Joseph Epstein in her statement.
Since its publication on Friday, Dec. 11, Epstein's opinion piece has sparked outrage over what many have called its misogynistic message and condescending tone. In addition to referring to Biden as "kiddo," during the piece, Epstein argues she should drop the title of "Dr." while she's in the White House because it "sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic." Epstein's argument rested on the fact that Biden holds a Ed.D. in education, rather than a medical degree, even though both degrees confer the title of "doctor." Elite Daily reached out to the WSJ for comment on the response to the op-ed, but did not hear back at the time of publication.
"A wise man once said that no one should call himself 'Dr.' unless he has delivered a child," Epstein wrote. "Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc."
On Sunday, Dec. 13, Biden — who has two master's degrees in addition to her doctorate — finally broke her silence by sharing a simple tweet which speaks volumes against Epstein's argument without mentioning him by name.
"Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished," she wrote, sharing the message both on her Twitter and Instagram accounts.
In his op-ed, Epstein — a former lecturer at Northwestern University who, per his op-ed, holds a bachelor's degree and an honorary doctorate, but has not earned an Ed.D. or an M.D. — slammed Biden's credentials while appearing to suggest she should settle for the "thrill" of living in the White House.
In addition to calling Biden's dissertation — which focused on increasing the rates of student retention in community colleges — as "unpromising," Epstein argued in his WSJ op-ed that Ph.D.s and other prestigious titles were losing their distinction because of political correctness.
"As for your Ed.D., Madame First Lady, hard-earned though it may have been, please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now. Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden," he wrote.
Following its publication on Friday, the backlash was swift from public figures like Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter Bernice King and former first lady Michelle Obama, along with numerous academics, readers, and even the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Elizabeth Alexander, Biden's communications director, replied on Twitter on Dec. 12, calling the op-ed "sexist and shameful," a sentiment echoed by many on the website.
Northwestern University also shared a statement Dec. 12, in which the school said it "strongly disagrees with Mr. Epstein's misogynistic views" and noted that "we believe the designation of doctor is well deserved by anyone who has earned a Ph.D., an Ed.D. or an M.D." It also removed Epstein — who has not lectured at the university since 2003 — from its official website.
While the Wall Street Journal did not respond to Elite Daily's requests for comment at the time of publication, Epstein said in a statement to CNN on Dec. 12, "No comment, apart from saying that I thought mine a lightly humorous piece, but I fear there isn't much humor in the world, especially among the politically correct."
Meanwhile, the WSJ's editorial page editor Paul Gigot published a responding op-ed on Dec. 13 defending the decision to publish the op-ed. "These pages aren't going to stop publishing provocative essays merely because they offend the new administration or the political censors in the media and academe," Gigot wrote. He characterized the backlash as an "identity politics campaign" by the Biden team.
Biden temporarily took a leave of absence from her job at Northern Virginia Community College while her husband, Joe Biden, campaigned for president, but she has made it clear she "would love to" continue teaching once President-elect Biden officially becomes president. "If we get to the White House, I'm going to continue to teach," she said in an Aug. 9 interview with CBS. "I want people to value teachers and know their contributions and to lift up the profession."
While Biden didn't directly address the op-ed in her response, it's unlikely she's planning on taking Epstein's advice to "forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill" once she heads to the White House.