President Joe Biden promised that none of his family members would work at the White House on his watch in a new interview with PEOPLE Magazine. Biden gave his first interview since taking office on Wednesday, and he tried to differentiate himself from his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
"No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy. And nobody has an office in this place," Biden said. The promise was a clear departure from the Trump administration, where Trump's elder daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were high-level advisers despite their lack of political and diplomatic experience.
Questions of nepotism and family treatment were a constant theme throughout the Trump administration, perhaps contributing to Ivanka and Kushner's decisions to waive their government salaries. In 2018, Kushner was denied security clearance out of concern that his business interests and foreign influence would benefit from his proximity to classified information. White House officials had to intervene to get Kushner approved.
While disputes like that began to seem commonplace in during the Trump administration, Biden's stated goal is to return the country to a sense of normalcy on every level — including political appointments and proprieties. The new president may also be sensitive about his family's involvement in his public life after the Trump campaign leveled so many attacks against his sons.
While they are returning to the status quo when it comes to family White House appointments, Dr. Jill Biden is breaking from tradition by continuing to teach at community colleges during her tenure in the White House. She told PEOPLE that she cannot see herself giving up her passion for these years.
"It's been busy," she said of her classes this semester. "But it's been so many different things, so many different areas, and Joe's been working hard on foreign policy and of course his new [COVID relief] plan. And so we have a lot to do — but we have a lot ahead of us and we feel good about it. We feel like people have hope that we're moving the country forward."
Biden is currently under pressure to answer the coronavirus pandemic quickly and to pass more economic relief for American taxpayers — a promise he is already behind on. Right now, he is reportedly on track to pass another stimulus bill in mid-March.