‘It’s unfortunate’: Ashley Biden confirms first lady snubbed her mother on traditional White House handover

Oliver O'Connell
·3-min read
Incoming first daughter Ashley Biden gave her first-ever TV Interview to former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager of The Today Show (NBC - The Today Show)
Incoming first daughter Ashley Biden gave her first-ever TV Interview to former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager of The Today Show (NBC - The Today Show)

In her first ever TV interview, incoming first daughter Ashley Biden said it was “unfortunate” that first lady Melania Trump had not honoured “traditional protocol” and invited her mother to the White House.

The daughter of President-elect Joe Biden and Dr Jill Biden confirmed that no invitation had been sent from the White House inviting the new first lady for tea and a tour of the executive mansion, with introductions to the residence staff.

Ms Biden said that her mother had not heard at all from Ms Trump in what is one of the strangest handovers of power in US history.

“No, I don’t think they’re doing the traditional protocol, which is unfortunate, but I think we’re all OK with it,” she said.

Having served as second lady through the eight years of the Obama administration, Dr Biden is likely more than familiar with how the White House operates.

Nevertheless the break in tradition is jarring — though perhaps not to the extent of the pained transition from the outgoing president to Mr Biden and the baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud.

Ms Biden, 39, the only child of the president-elect and Dr Biden, has largely remained out of the spotlight, though did appear at the party’s convention to introduce her father alongside her half-brother Hunter Biden. The pair also spoke at the funeral of Beau Biden in 2015.

Confirming that she will not have a job in the administration, Ms Biden said she will advocate for issues important to her and her career in social work in Baltimore, Maryland.

“I will however hopefully use this platform to advocate for social justice, for mental health, to be involved in community development and revitalisation,” she told former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager, now a host on the Today Show.

Watch: First Lady advises "that violence is never the answer"

Ms Biden also spoke about the attack on the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters and her fears for her father’s safety.

“I was deeply saddened that this was a place I grew up going as a child, as you did too,” she told Ms Bush Hager. “And a place where Dad has worked for over 30 years, a sacred place really, and to see what happened, really to see what was going on, I mean it was truly horrifying.”

With security being of paramount concern at her father’s inauguration on Wednesday, Ms Biden said: “I think anybody you love who is being threatened or... yes, you worry.”

She praised the “incredible” Secret Service, adding: “He has so much protection, so in that way, I don't [worry].”

On the scrutiny levelled at the family given its long-running time in the public eye, Ms Biden says that they have each other for support when controversies have arisen.

“Yes it hurts, but you also know the truth. At the end of the day, they may get it wrong, but at least I got it right. At least I know the real deal. I know, you know, the type of man my father is, and the woman my mother is, and the man my brother is,” she said, indirectly referring to the scandals that have plagued Hunter Biden, putting him at the centre of a favourite conspiracy theory of supporters of Donald Trump.

“The cruelty and the meanness, that’s why I don't have a social media account that's public. Part of it is also having boundaries for myself, because I believe in kindness, and I believe in the humanity of all of us,” she added.

While not often seen in public, the interview with the Today Show is seen as a possible indication that the incoming first daughter may have a higher profile going forward.

Watch: Melania Trump didn't know whether she'd be attending Biden's inauguration until Trump tweeted that he'd skip it

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