Despite being so deeply ensconced in the world's tightest security bubble, President Biden still finds time to check in on his family.
President Joe Biden has one rule he takes very seriously: No matter where he is, what time of the day, and what's happening, he will always — ALWAYS — answer a call from one of his grandchildren. The 78-year-old previously opened up about his habitual check-ins while on the campaign trail, revealing that he kept up with his grandchildren every day of the pandemic with calls and texts. And now, according to two people familiar with the first family's habits, this ritual has carried over to his life in the White House despite being so deeply ensconced in the world's tightest security bubble.
"No topic is off-limits," one of them told CNN, even if "sometimes the kids don't want to tell him everything." Given his knowledge of how tenuous family ties can be, it isn't surprising that President Biden places a great deal of importance on keeping his loved ones close. Having lost his first wife and baby daughter in a car accident in 1972, and his son Beau Biden to cancer six years ago, it's understandable why the president would need to know his surviving family members are OK at all times.
Although Biden's communication with the young Bidens has mostly been kept private, his grandchildren have shared some of them over time. Granddaughter Naomi Biden, for example, shared several "Voicemails from Pop" on Twitter during the 2020 campaign. "Hey Naomi, it's Pop. I just called to say I love you. We just landed in Iowa. When you get a chance let me know where you are. Get home alright, OK?" Biden can be heard saying in one such voicemail. Like most concerned parents and grandparents, when he is unable to get a hold of his grandkids, President Biden immediately texts the entire Biden clan to get to the bottom of it.
According to one source familiar with the Biden family's communications, the president's regular check-ins with his grandchildren typically comprise of at least an 'I love you' or 'How are you?' text and at most a phone call. And while Biden appears to be fairly familiar with smartphones, his texting style and constant concern is something his granddaughters often poke fun at. "On a day where we're all busy, he texts us, 'Just tried calling you guys. Missed it,'" Maisy Biden said in a January interview. "He has this weird thing where he can put stuff in bold letters," granddaughter Natalie chimed in while Naomi added: "He puts, like, 'SUBJECT: WHERE ARE YOU?'"
Maisy also recalled at the time of their "Pop" staying up "until 10 p.m." to make sure his grandkids got to their family lake house safely, despite the Secret Service traveling with them. Besides the grandkids, the president's surviving son, Hunter Biden—who has struggled with addiction in recent years—and daughter Ashley are also always on his mind. Hunter touched upon the topic in his new book Beautiful Things where he made clear just how much his father needs to check in on him. In an interview earlier this month, he revealed that he talks to Biden "at least every night."
"Usually, he calls me right before he goes to bed just to tell me that he loves me," he said of his dad. That's what Biden has long done, Hunter explained, because he "knows what it's like not to be able to pick up the phone and talk to your son." Frequent calls with other lawmakers have long been a hallmark of Biden's communication style in the Senate. He has reportedly maintained this habit of ringing political acquaintances from time to time even after his inauguration earlier this year, seemingly relishing direct conversations with the people he still refers to as his "colleagues."
This also extends to how he treats his staff, as evidenced by a 2014 memo where he informed his staff that he did not want any of his employees "to miss or sacrifice important family obligations for work." "In fact," he wrote, "... if I find out that you are working with me while missing important family responsibilities, it will disappoint me greatly. This has been an unwritten rule since my days in the Senate."