Doug Emhoff, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband, on Saturday criticized the Wall Street Journal for publishing an op-ed urging Jill Biden to “drop the doc” in her name.
In the op-ed, essayist Joseph Epstein calls President-elect Joe Biden’s wife as “Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo,” before arguing that “‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
“Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title ‘Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs,'” Epstein said. “A wise man once said that no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child.”
Emhoff, the incoming second gentleman, defended Biden’s title and implicitly accused the publication of sexism. “Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit,” he tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “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.”
Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit. 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. pic.twitter.com/mverJiOsxC
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) December 12, 2020
Epstein, a lecturer at Northwestern University, insisted in the article that “the Ph.D may once have held prestige, but that has been diminished by the erosion of seriousness and the relaxation of standards in university education generally, at any rate outside the sciences.”
“As for your Ed.D., Madame First Lady, hard-earned though it may have been, please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now,” he wrote. “Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden.”
Several notable figures immediately came to Biden’s defense, with some calling the writing “trash” and “a bad take.” Others lashed out at Epstein, calling him a “fool” and “misogynist.”
2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten Buttigieg, said, “The author could’ve used fewer words to just say ‘ya know in my day we didn’t have to respect women.'”
“I just caught up to this hot trash take on Dr Biden. A white guy with a BA bragging about his teaching career in academia as in part justification as to why Jill Biden shouldn’t be using her doctorate in education she earned is peak white male supremacy,” tweeted Democratic political strategist Atima Omara.
1) Im offended for anyone who actually got a Ph.D or Ed.D unlike the fool who writes this, because that ISH is WORK.
2) This article is a thesis as to why women and esp. BIPOC end up extra credentialing ourselves because there is that dude who did 1/3 of work for more pay
— Atima Omara (@atima_omara) December 12, 2020
“1) I’m offended for anyone who actually got a Ph.D or Ed.D unlike the fool who writes this, because that ISH is WORK,” Omara added. “2) This article is a thesis as to why women and esp. BIPOC end up extra credentialing ourselves because there is that dude who did 1/3 of work for more pay.”
“A man who does not have a PhD says Dr. Jill Biden is ‘fraudulent’ and ‘comic’ to use her title because her doctorate isn’t in medicine. Filed as ‘Men threatened by women smarter than them,'” tweeted former U.S. Senate candidate Trish Zornio.
A man who does not have a PhD says Dr. Jill Biden is fraudulent and comic to use her title because her doctorate isnt in medicine.
Filed as Men threatened by women smarter than them.https://t.co/PuYV5P7yK4
— Trish Zornio (@trish_zornio) December 12, 2020
Newsweek reached out to the The Wall Street Journal for comment.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff walk in the Downton Holiday Market on November 28 in Washington, D.C.Tasos Katopodis/Getty