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First Lady-elect Dr. Jill Biden responds after Wall Street Journal opinion editor defends controversial column

Posted at 5:10 PM, Dec 14, 2020

First Lady-elect Dr. Jill Biden took to Twitter to respond to a Wall Street Journal opinion-editorial column in which the author called on the incoming First Lady to drop "Dr." before her name.

"Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished," Dr. Biden tweeted Sunday.

Dr. Biden's response comes after WSJ essayist Joseph Epstein wrote Friday that she should "consider stowing" her title away because she is not a medical doctor.

He also referred to the 69-year-old educator as "kiddo."

"Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter," Epstein began his column. "Any chance you might drop the "Dr." before your name? "Dr. Jill Biden" sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic."

On Sunday, WSJ opinion editor Paul A. Gigot responded in his column Sunday, standing by his decision to run Epstein's op-ed piece.

"Mrs. Biden is now America's most prominent doctorate holder and is taking a leading role in education policy," Gigot wrote. "She can't be off-limits for commentary."

Many prominent figures, including former first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris's husband Doug Emhoff, spoke out against the op-ed.

"Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit," Emhoff tweeted in support Saturday. "She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country. This story would never have been written about a man."

Even reporter Melissa Korn, who covers higher education for the Journal, tweeted that the op-ed was "belittling" and "disgusting."

Northwestern University distanced itself from its former lecturer, saying in a statement that the university is "firmly committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and strongly disagrees with Epstein's misogynistic views."

"While we firmly support academic freedom and freedom of expression, we do not agree with Mr. Epstein's opinion and believe the designation of doctor is well deserved by anyone who has earned a Ph.D., an Ed.D., or an M.D.," the university said.

In the statement on the school's website, the university clarified that Epstein hasn't been a lecturer at Northwestern since 2003.

Biden received her bachelor's and doctoral degrees from the University of Delaware.

In an email to CNN, Epstein said he thought the column was "a lightly humorous piece," but fears that "there isn't much humor in the world, especially among the politically correct."