Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
- Joe Biden has Irish roots
U.S. president-elect, Joe Biden, has spoken about his Irish heritage on numerous occasions. Biden can trace his Irish roots back to both the Blewitts from County Mayo and the Finnegans from County Louth. His great-great grandfather, Patrick Blewitt, was born in Ballina, Co. Mayo, in 1832. Patrick left Ireland in the autumn of 1850, during the Great Famine, to settle in America. He did return to Ireland the following year though, to bring his parents Edward and Mary and his siblings to America. The Blewitts settled in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
- His political career started in 1970
Biden first ran in a general election in 1970 for his local county council and won the 4th District Seat on the New Castle County Council. His campaign was predominantly based on support for public housing in the suburbs, and the seat had previously been held by a Republican. Biden won the general election and took office on January 5, 1971. He served until 1973 and was succeeded by Democrat Francis R. Swift. During his time on the county council, Biden opposed large highway projects he argued might disrupt Wilmington neighbourhoods. He ran for Senate in 1972 and was sworn in in 1973.
- His wife and daughter died in a tragic accident
On December 18, 1972, a few weeks after the Senate election, Joe Biden’s wife, Neilia, and one-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a motor accident while Christmas shopping in Hockessin, Delaware. Their sons, Beau and Hunter, survived the accident and were taken to the hospital Beau with a broken leg and other wounds, and Hunter with a minor skull fracture and other head injuries. Both made full recoveries, and Biden went on to marry again in 1977 to Jill Tracey Jacobs.
- Joe Biden ran for president in 1987
Joe Biden formally declared his candidacy for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination in June 1987. By August, his campaign’s messaging had become confused due to what at the time was dubbed “staff rivalries”, and in September, he was accused of plagiarising a speech by British Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock. Later, an incident from his time in law school was publicised, in which he had drawn text from an article without citing it correctly. He also made several false or exaggerated claims about his early life: that he had earned three degrees in college, that he had attended law school on a full scholarship, that he had graduated in the top half of his class, and that he had marched in the civil rights movement. In September, Biden withdrew from the race, saying his candidacy had been overrun by “the exaggerated shadow” of his past mistakes.
- He had had brain surgery
In February 1988, after several episodes of increasingly severe neck pain, Joe Biden was taken by ambulance to Walter Reed Army Medical Centre for surgery to correct a leaking intracranial berry aneurysm. While recuperating, he suffered a pulmonary embolism, a serious complication. After a second aneurysm was surgically repaired in May, Biden’s recuperation kept him away from the Senate for seven months.
- Biden ran against Obama before becoming his vice president
In January 2007, Joe Biden declared his candidacy in the 2008 election. Biden had difficulty raising funds, struggled to draw people to his rallies, and failed to gain traction against the high-profile candidacies of Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton. He withdrew from the race in January 2008. Shortly after Biden withdrew from the presidential race; Obama privately told him he was interested in finding an important place for Biden in his administration. In early August, Obama and Biden met to discuss the possibility of Biden being Obama’s vice president and developed a strong personal rapport. Later that month, Obama announced that Biden would be his running mate.
- There have been allegations against Joe Biden of inappropriate contact
Joe Biden has been accused several times of inappropriate non-sexual contact, such as embracing, kissing, and gripping, and once of sexual assault. In March 2019, former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, alleged that Biden had touched her without her consent at a 2014 campaign rally in Las Vegas. Two days later, Amy Lappos, a former congressional aide, said Biden touched her in a non-sexual, but inappropriate way by holding her head to rub noses with her at a political fundraiser in 2009. In April 2019, former Biden staffer, Tara Reade, said she had felt uncomfortable on several occasions when Biden touched her on her shoulder and neck during her employment in his Senate office in 1993. In March 2020, Reade accused him of a 1993 sexual assault. Biden and his campaign denied the allegation.