Delaware’s favorite son likes to say, “My dad used to have an expression. He said ‘it’s a lucky person who gets up in the morning, puts both feet on the floor, knows what he’s about to do and thinks it still matters.”
It still matters for Joe Biden. Besides serving as the 47th Vice-President to former President Barack Obama, Joe Biden is a man whose post-White House life and work is more public than ever. He refuses to allow personal hardship and sorrow to slow him down.
After more than 45 years spent fulfilling his public duty as Vice President and United States Senator, one could be forgiven for thinking that Vice President Biden might be considering retirement. However, “Joe Biden has always been a man with boundless energy, and he’ll never quit,” says Bruce Reed, his former chief of staff. “He would be doing all he’s doing no matter what his plans are. He’s not the retiring kind.”
This year is turning out to be one of Biden’s busiest yet. Biden and his wife of 40 years, Dr. Jill Biden, recently launched a project that is very near and dear to their hearts called The Biden Foundation, a non-profit organization that will continue Biden’s vision to champion progress and prosperity for American families.
November will also see the release of Biden’s memoir, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose, Biden’s own personal story about how hope, purpose, and action can become a guide through the pain of personal loss. A 19-city book tour will coincide with the launch.
“Failure at some point in everyone’s life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable,” Biden quipped in his 2008 Convention speech. Giving up is certainly not in this man’s DNA. In 1972, as senator-elect, Biden’s wife Neilia was driving with their 3 children when her car was fatally struck by a tractor-trailer. Both she and their 1-year old daughter Naomi did not survive the accident, while their sons, Beau and Hunter were seriously injured and hospitalized for some period afterward.
Despite his unforgiving heartbreak, Senator Biden resolved to continue his public duty to the American people while balancing the duties of a single father dedicated to filling the void left in his sons’ lives.
This early personal devastation set the stage for Biden’s deep commitment to family and faith. In 2014, Joe and Jill Biden’s eldest son, Beau, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Beau’s death struck a huge blow to the family. “Promise me, Dad,” Beau had told his father. “Give me your word that no matter what happens, you’re going to be all right.” Joe Biden gave him his word.
Promise Me, Dad is an account of the challenging year that followed. In the memoir, Biden opens his world to readers to share those days of grief when he was treading water, unable to move forward and why he knew in his heart that action was the only way to leave behind his personal loss. “I hope my own story will strike a chord with other Americans who have walked the same path I have.” While still deeply in mourning, Biden decided not to run for President in 2016. In the memoir, he also promises to reveal his reasons for not running for President.
Biden will continue, as he has his entire career, to split his time between Washington D.C. and Delaware so that his wife Jill can continue teaching English at a community college in Northern Virginia. Dr. Jill Biden spent more than 30 years as an educator and has been a leader on the importance of community colleges, military families and the rights and welfare of women and girls.
The former Vice President has established research and policy centers at both the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware. The Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement and the Biden Institute each focus on the issues— Foreign and domestic, respectively— that have animated his storied career. And on the political front, Biden has vowed to remain active through his American Possibilities PAC, supporting groups and causes that dream big and focus on what is possible in America.
“I’m more optimistic than I’ve ever been since I’ve been in public life,” Biden said in the Foundation’s launch video. “As long as we have a breath in us, we’re going to be working on it.”
The Biden Foundation is working to carry on a lifetime of public service, including the continuation of the Biden Cancer Initiative, ensuring that the Violence Against Women Act is “fully realized,” supporting American military members and their families, and increasing access to high-quality and affordable education.
As a man long associated with the words integrity, compassion, and authenticity, could the “fake news” circus that has blown into D.C. become the motivation for a Joe Biden Presidential run in 2020?
“I have no intention of running for president, but I’m a great respecter of fate,” Joe told NPR. “I don’t have any plans to do it, but I’m not promising I wouldn’t do it.”