Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. (born November 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania) is the 46th and current President of the United States, and the seventeenth from the Democratic Party, having been in office since January 20, 2021. He succeeded Donald Trump, whom he defeated in a contentious election in 2020, becoming the first candidate since Bill Clinton to defeat an incumbent president. Taking the Oath of Office at 78, he is the oldest president to serve, with the previous oldest, Ronald Reagan, having left office just shy of his 78th birthday. He is also only the second Catholic president after John F. Kennedynote , and the first person belonging to the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) to become President.
Before his presidency, Biden was the Vice President during the administration of the 44th president, Barack Obama. He was elected to that role after serving as a U.S. senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009 (36 years); at the time of his first election, he was just barely the minimum age to serve (he turned 30 between the election and his inauguration in January). He served six complete six-year terms, including several tenures as chair of important Senate committees, and himself ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and again in 2008 before being picked as Obama's running mate. Biden ran for a seventh term as senator while also running for VP, won both elections, and resigned his Senate seat just before he and Obama were sworn in. Before leaving office, Obama held a conference bestowing upon Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor available to a civilian, for his five decades of public service.note
Those years of service and his established record as a moderate in both politics and temperament set Biden up early on as the favorite to run against Trump in 2020, and Trump was impeached twice by a Democrat House for using the presidential office to attempt to disrupt first Biden's campaign and then the certification of his election. Biden successfully flipped back the three "Rust Belt" states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvanianote that Trump had flipped in 2016, plus delivering unexpected (if very narrow) victories in long-solid Republican states Arizona and Georgia. Delays in the vote count and an increase in mail-in voting caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic led Trump and many of his supporters to make unsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud and even storm the Capitol during the election certification, marking only the second non-peaceful transition of presidential power in U.S. history (the first coming after Abraham Lincoln's first election in 1860). None of these accusations held up in court, and Biden was sworn in on schedule.
Contrary to concerns about Biden's ability to do much as a president, he started his time in office by signing a bevy of executive orders just moments after his inauguration to undo several of Trump's orders, most notably his "Muslim travel ban" and ban on transgender soldiers serving in the US military. Biden was also more publicly active in combatting COVID-19 than his predecessor, openly advocating for compliance with medical guidelines and rolling out vaccines for the disease at a rapid rate that directly contrasted Trump's diffident response. The Biden administration has seen criticism among progressives for continuing the moderate approach of the Obama era, but most have also noted that he has in some ways sought to govern in a more progressive manner than Obama did. Among other things, he reversed controversial Trump immigration policies,note pledged to quickly withdraw troops from Afghanistan after two decades in the region, and proposed some of the most aggressive infrastructure spending in decades along with other new programs to help Americans recover from the pandemic recession. Most health officials and political analysts have viewed Biden's approach to the pandemic as a marked improvement over Trump's, with America leading the world in vaccine distribution and case numbers and deaths plummeting. By the end of Biden's first 100-days in office, his approval rating was 52%; while also a major improvement over Trump's consistently sub-50 rating, it was also the lowest of any other president other than Gerald Ford's, reflecting the increasing partisanship in American politics and the lasting impact of the voter fraud allegations. How the rest of his era will progress is a matter of guesswork at best.
Biden is noted for having a rather bad case of foot-in mouth syndrome, which naturally makes him a veritable Fountain of Memes in American politics (satirists got a lot of mileage out of his gaffes and playing up his "Mistaken for Racist" moments). He also has a mild stutter which has caused some issues in the past, leading him to utilize a very measured, almost slow-paced speaking style to minimize it, to mixed results. The combination of these two resulted in satirical portrayals of Biden shifting towards that of a borderline (if not outright) senile elder during the 2020 election cycle, a portrayal that The Onion popularized after retiring its prior and equally popular Cool Old Guy depiction; compare this to rival Democrat Bernie Sanders, who was slightly older but more charismatic than Biden and consequently saw more parody for his bombastic speaking style than for his age. The exaggerations of his clumsiness also saw a bit of a resurgence after he slipped and took a tumble on the steps of Air Force One (hearkening back to Gerald Ford), which got the meme treatment.
On a less embarrassing note, he's also known for his love of aviator sunglasses, trains (as a US Senator he famously didn't move to Washington and instead commuted home to Delaware to be with his children and grandchildren), and ice cream. On a more personal note, Biden is known for enduring a number of painful personal losses during his public service. His first wife and their daughter died in a car accident shortly after his first election to the Senate in 1972, nearly leading him to resign before his career got started. His older son Beau, a National Guard veteran and Attorney General of Delaware who seemed set to follow in his father's footsteps, died of brain cancer in 2015 towards the end of Biden's tenure as VP. (This was obviously a major reason why he didn't run for president in 2016.) While Joe Biden is normally seen as fairly mild-mannered, going after his family is certainly not to be advised.
Joe Biden in fiction:
- The Biden Express: An Alternate History series published online which explores an Alternate Reality where Joe Biden beats incumbent Vice-President George H. W. Bush in the 1988 election.
- The Obama Biden Mysteries novels published by Penguin Random House portray former President Barack Obama and former VP Joe Biden as solving crimes like a modern day Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson after they leave the White House (with some satirical political commentary on the side). Fun fact: This is the same company that has published President Obama's memoir A Promised Land and former First Lady Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming.
- Shortly before the 2020 election, his wife Jill wrote a children's picture book about his life called Joey.
- Biden appeared in a cameo on the Season 5 Parks and Recreation "Leslie vs. April." (Leslie Knope's crush on Biden was a long-standing Running Gag on the show, and the cameo was explained as her fiancé Ben calling in favors to give her an engagement present.)
- Once made a cameo on Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? to name show host Greg as the best detective of the year.
- During his time as Vice President, Biden appeared in an episode of Law & Order: SVU, where he commends the team for their work in clearing rape kit backlogs.
- He's one of the personalities spoofed in the 2020 revival of Spitting Image, being portrayed as a scatterbrained Cloudcuckoolander, basically taking the same role Ronald Reagan had in the original series. Biden had previously made an "appearance" in the original, when the Neil Kinnock plagiarism scandal which derailed his 1988 presidential campaign was mocked using a generic puppet named "Joseph Bidet".
- On Saturday Night Live, he would become a regular character of the show after he became the 2008 Democratic vice-presidential nominee,note being portrayed by Jason Sudeikis, who would continue portraying him during his subsequent vice-presidency. After Sudeikis left the show, it took a while for it to settle on a steady portrayal of him, with Sudeikis briefly returning to reprise the role, Woody Harrelson playing him on a semi-regular basis, and former SNL writer John Mulaney playing him on a one-off sketch, before Season 46 introduced Jim Carrey as his new regular performer after he'd become the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, playing him until the night Biden was announced as the winner of the election. Carrey dropped the role afterwards, so Alex Moffat played Biden since the midseason finale. Moffat's Biden lampshaded the High Turnover Rate of actors playing Biden, saying, "I'm like Colonel Sanders — every time you see me, I'm a different guy."
- The Idle Class: One of the emails you receive has the title "FW: The Legacy of Stalin: How Joe Biden Embodies Far Left Radicalism".
- During his time as Vice President, The Onion regularly published articles on Biden, portraying him as a Cool Old Guy and a Lovable Sex Maniac (its first appearance being in an article famously titled "Shirtless Biden Washes Trans Am in White House Driveway"). This characterization, nicknamed "Diamond Joe", was so popular that it even got its own page on Wikipedia. After Biden began his 2020 presidential campaign, former Onion editor Joe Garden wrote a self-critical op-ed where he said that while he still felt the caricature had been funny, he expressed regret that it had failed to provide more meaningful commentary on Biden's real-life record, and after reviving the "Diamond Joe" version of Biden for one final article ("Biden Pulls Off Dusty Tarp Covering Old Campaign Motorcycle"), his characterization in The Onion changed, and articles portrayed him as more of a Dirty Old Man currently grappling with senility.
- FreedomToons usually depicts him as a Scatterbrained Senior. In "Biden's Actual Inauguration", he's taken away during his inauguration speech by Kamala Harris, who then has herself inaugurated right then and there.
- In the sixth season of Epic Rap Battles of History, Biden (played by Peter Shukoff) raps against Donald Trump in the 2020 election battle.
- During the 2020 U.S. presidential debates, "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded the video "We're All Doomed", with Weird Al acting as the moderator between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
- In the American Dad! episode "Scents and Sensei-bility" Biden makes a picture-only appearance. Sensei Tom idolizes him, to the point of naming his business Dojo Biden and featuring a shrine with a (photoshopped?) picture of Biden in a suit, barefoot doing a flying kick. Later in the episode, he reveals to Steve:
Sensei Tom: In the words of Joe Biden: "You do not have permission to use my name on your dojo."
- Family Guy:
- In the episode "Brokeback Swanson", a Navy Seal named Vic (Brian was pretending to be Vic's dog so he could sleep with Vic's wife Tori) complained that after he killed Osama bin Laden, he never got the chance to shake hands with then Vice President Joe Biden. Chris and Stewie rescue Brian from Vic's house by bringing Biden with them and having him shake hands with Vic, thanking him for shooting the man "they said" was Osama bin Laden. They thank Biden, who accepts, and then he proceeds to compare his term against the show Veep and how unrealistic it is. But since none of them has seen Veep, they aren't interested.
- Joe Biden also appears in "HTTPete" as a guest on Peter's new Internet series, "The 6-Second Talk Show".
- Paradise PD: There's a Running Gag about Biden being a Memetic Molester, with a particular interest in Dusty.