Why everyone is talking about Jill Biden. And most of them are furious with her.

A quiet hand on a sleeve. 

A leaned-in whisper to a mottled ear. 

A firm but kind soft word over a frothy cup of mid-morning coffee

This is how, apparently, the Biden presidency should end. With his wife, Jill, telling Joe quietly what the internet is yelling at him loudly — that he's past it, senile, ancient, useless. Done. 

"Joe, darling," she would say, presumably. "It's over."

And Joe Biden would simply hang his trembling chin in shame and embarrassment, and acquiesce. "Yes, darling, you're right, what have I been thinking? Pass me that modern portable phone computer thing."

American First Lady Jill Biden is under the pressure that Joe Biden is apparently, allegedly, possibly ignoring after his disastrous performance in the first Presidential debate with Donald Trump last Thursday night.

Watch: President Joe Biden and Donald Trump when asked about healthcare during the 2024 US Presidential Debate. Post continues after video.

Video via Insider News.

Nine minutes into that televised display of dual inadequacy, Democrats were blowing up each other's phones in panic. He can't do it, they unilaterally screamed about the man they had been assuring the world could definitely do it. 


Someone has to tell him. Jill, apparently, is that person.

Headlines say so:

Is Jill Biden the only person who could persuade the President not to run again? asks The Guardian

The fault lies with Jill Biden for keeping Joe in the presidential race, shouts Fox News.

And, Jill Biden should be held responsible for "elder abuse" says the Washington Examiner, quoting Trump's press secretary.

And closer to home, on Mamamia Out Loud yesterday, my co-host and friend Mia Freedman said the same thing, arguing that it if ageing affects cognitive decline and self-awareness, it's the duty and responsibility of close family to step in to persuade and protect. To convince. To control. To boss.

Basically, where we've landed, in 2024, is here: A powerful man is not willing to yield his power, and somehow this is his wife's fault.

And so, to today, and the cover of Vogue

America's First Lady Jill Biden on the cover of Vogue August 2024. Image: Vogue.


Yes, it's that fancy, selfish woman, the First Lady of the USA who, at 73 years of age, still works two days a week as an English professor at a Community College (and the other five days, campaigning and advocating and fundraising and all that First Lady business). In suffragette white and some pretty spekky earrings, posing for her third cover under the supportive eye of Anna Wintour.

The accompanying profile had to be updated online before it ran, to get a take on the Jill-hate since the debate. This is what the editorial note said:

"Reached by phone on June 30 at Camp David, where the Biden family had gathered for the weekend, she told Vogue that they 'will not let those 90 minutes define the four years he's been president. We will continue to fight.' President Biden, she added, 'will always do what’' best for the country'. Whatever happens in the weeks and months between now and November, it is Dr Biden who will remain the president's closest confidant and advocate."

Further on, the piece spoke about Dr Biden's unrelenting passion for making education and health more accessible to more Americans. About her fury at women's rights being in peril under another Trump presidency, and yes, about enjoying morning coffee with Joe. Jill Biden blows off taking a Soul Cycle class with the writer, Maya Singer (there's a reason never to marry a politician, can you imagine taking a spin class with a reporter?), because she and her husband get a corresponding window in their diaries.


"It's not that often Joe and I get to have a whole morning together, just coffee, you know, talking…." she tells Singer, painting a picture of exactly the kind of moment, we suppose, that Jill could use to break the news to Biden that he needs to hang up the suit.

"Terrifying," her critics say of her apparently bald ambition, in the wake of Vogue.

"A power and money-hungry monster," cries the internet.

"It's really great," writes one blue-tick worthy X-er, David Sirota, "That the whole country has to be lit on fire by another Donald Trump presidency simply because Jill Biden wants a few extra months of getting herself on the cover of fashion magazines and so she won't tell her husband to step aside."

God forbid we be distracted from the fun of mocking a smart, capable and loyal grown-up woman by the complexities of the issue in hand.

Like, the myriad smart advisors and an entire system of government that stand between Biden, his duties as President and the complex plan for the election. Not only his wife.

Like, the fact that a president facing re-election can't just shrug and say, "I can't do it," and go have a nice lie-down. Because he's still The President, and the minute that happens the nation is leaderless and he is a lame duck.


Like, the immovable issue of his deputy, Kamala Harris, being poison in the polls, something that we are routinely told has nothing to do with her being both female and of colour, but which suspiciously smells of being very much about the fact she is female and of colour.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden. Image: Getty.

Like, what do we expect a wife of 43 years to do in this situation? Publicly mock her husband? Walk out of the debate and criticise him on camera?


Like, the fact a Democratic presidential candidate hasn't been chosen at an open convention since 1980. It might take a little planning

Like, the fact that if a CEO of a large corporation was deemed not capable of fulfilling their duties, we would not imagine that the first call to encourage them to step down would be to their... spouse.

Like, the fact that Joe Biden is an adult (way too much of an adult, according to most), with his own opinions and full free will, not a naughty toddler.

Listen to Mia, Jessie, and Holly discuss Jill Biden in Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues after audio.

There is no doubt that after Friday, anyone who fears the re-election of Donald Trump — a man just granted unusual powers by a Supreme Court he largely selected, a man who stands for nothing other than himself, happy to align himself with the world's most dangerous people if it works for him; a man who tried to deny a legal election result, a man who lies like he breathes and who is a convicted sex offender — will be even more worried than they were last week about what happens next.

But the idea that Biden's wife can make all that go away, overnight, with a stern word and a firm hand, is insulting in the extreme. Comforting, yes. Accurate, no.

We are simply looking for a woman to blame for the messes of powerful men.

Which feels about as familiar as an old white man in the White House.

Feature image: EPA + Vogue.