WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden says being first lady “is a little harder than I imagined.”
She tells “CBS Sunday Morning” in an interview set to air next week that her new role is a 24-hour undertaking and not the kind of job that ends at a certain hour.
“I think it’s a little harder than I imagined,” the first lady said after being asked if she was prepared for what her new life would be like. “It’s not like a job that you do, it’s a lifestyle that you live, and it’s not something you leave at 5:00 or at 3:00. And it’s 24 hours a day.”
In the interview, Jill Biden also scoffed at speculation about President Joe Biden’s mental fitness and said she understood why he cut a proposal for free community college from a major social welfare bill he’s trying to get Congress to pass.
Her observation about being first lady all the time comes from someone who has lived most of her adult life in the public eye and has watched — and worked with — some of her predecessors.
Joe Biden was already a public figure, a U.S. senator from Delaware, when they married in 1977. Jill Biden campaigned for and with him during his many Senate reelection bids and his three campaigns for president. When Joe Biden was vice president to President Barack Obama, Jill Biden and first lady Michelle Obama worked closely together on military family issues.
Asked about dropping the community college proposal, Jill Biden sounded like her husband when she said: “I understand compromise. And I knew this was not the right moment for it.”
She is a veteran community college professor who still teaches as first lady. She held out hope that her longtime advocacy for free tuition at these schools will pay off in the future.
President Biden dropped free community college and other proposals from the bill in an attempt to make the it more palatable to Democratic senators who had said they were uncomfortable with its original size.
The president, the oldest officeholder at age 79, has been the subject of unrelenting social media memes and comments from political opponents suggesting he is mentally unfit for office.
His wife, who is 70, said polls questioning his mental fitness are “ridiculous.”
President Biden joined a portion of the interview at the White House and was asked about sharing the experience with his wife of 44 years.
“I’m a lucky man,” he said. “Jill is the life of my love and the love of my life.”