The social worker poised to step into Ivanka’s shoes: Jill and Joe’s daughter Ashley Biden, 39, has gone from drug-related arrests to launching a fashion range inspired by late brother Beau and is wed to plastic surgeon 14 years her senior
- Ashley Biden, 39, is the daughter and only child of Jill, 69, and Joe Biden, 77
- Unlike First Daughter Ivanka Trump, Ashley prefers to stay out of the spotlight
- Ashley has had a successful career as a social worker and social justice activist
- She married plastic surgeon Dr Howard Krein in 2012, the pair have no children
For the last four years, Ivanka Trump has enjoyed unprecedented power and influence as the First Daughter of the United States.
But Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner – who both hold unpaid but clearly hugely powerful posts within the Trump presidency – could soon find themselves out of the White House. In the last couple of house, Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden has taken the lead in Pennsylvania and is now poised for victory, leading in four of the remaining swing states.
Replacing Ivanka and Jared will be Ashley Biden, 39, the only child of Joe and Jill Biden, and her plastic surgeon husband, Dr Howard Krein, 53.
Unlike Ivanka, Ashley doesn’t appear to relish the spotlight; doesn’t document her life on Instagram (she only has a private account); and, reassuringly, doesn’t appear to be angling for a role within her father’s administration.
Born less than a decade before Joe Biden launched his first (unsuccessful) bid for the Presidency, Ashley has grew up surrounded by politics and under the watchful eye of brothers Hunter and Beau, who died from brain cancer in 2015. The boys were the product of Joe’s first marriage to Neilia, who died in a 1972 car crash alongside their infant daughter Naomi.
Ashley has had public brushes with the law – she was reportedly arrested in 1999 for possession of marijuana and in 2002 for obstructing a police officer – and faced questions over her husband’s role in Biden’s campaign, but has otherwise stayed largely under the radar. Instead she has focused on building a career in social work and social justice. She has also launched a charity clothing label.
In recent months, Ashley has taken on a more public role, joining her father at events and introducing him at the Democratic National Convention, but still remains a relatively rare sight on the public stage.
Here, a closer look at the woman who could soon be knocking Ivanka off her perch…
BORN INTO POLITICS
Starting young: Senator Joe Biden with his wife Jill, sons Beau and Hunter and daughter Ashley, then six, during his first run for President in 1987, ahead of the 1988 election
By his side: Ashley Biden with her father, then Senator for Delaware, at an event in 2007
Front and center: Ashley Biden, right, with her mother Dr Jill Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama watch as Joe Biden speaks on stage at the 2012 Democratic National Convention
Family support: Ashley and Jill Biden watch as Joe Biden speaks in South Carolina during the Democratic primaries earlier this year
Born in 1981 in Wilmington, Delaware, Ashley, now 39, is the daughter and only child of Joe Biden, 77, and English professor Jill, 69. Her father was first elected as Senator almost a decade earlier, so Ashley was born into the world of politics.
BRUSHES WITH THE LAW
After graduating high school, Ashley moved to Louisiana to study at Tulane University and later received a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.
While a student at Tulane, Ashley was reportedly arrested for possession of marijuana but no conviction was recorded.
The report of Ashley’s drug-related arrest emerged in 2009 after a ‘friend’ of the then 27-year-old, whose father was then Vice President, tried to sell a video to the New York Post that allegedly showed Ashley taking cocaine at a party. Joe Biden did not comment on the reports.
In 2002 Ashley was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a police officer outside a Chicago bar.
Ashley, then 21, was with a group of people on street where several bars are located when someone else threw a bottle at an officer, police said at the time.
When police tried to arrest one of the group, Ashley blocked the officer’s path and made intimidating statements. The charges were dropped after she apologized in court.
A spokeswoman for Biden declined to comment at the time, saying it was a private family matter.
Ashley has described how her passion for public service was ‘in her DNA’, thanks not only to her father’s political career, but also her mother’s work as an English professor.
Prior to moving to Washington DC, Jill, who holds four degrees, taught at a community college Delaware, at a public high school and at a psychiatric hospital for adolescents.
‘The passion [for public service] started at a very young age,’ Ashley said in a 2017 interview with Glamour. ‘My dad is a lifelong public servant; my mom was a public-school teacher—it’s in my DNA.
‘When I was a kid, I always really loved animals, and I found out that Bonne Bell lip gloss was testing on animals, so I organized my school to start writing letters to [the company]. Then I became obsessed with the plight of dolphins getting stuck in tuna nets. My dad connected me with Congressman Barbara Boxer, who I nicknamed the “dolphin lady,” and she got me onto the floor to help lobby Republican congressman for The Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act.’
The well-connected schoolgirl balanced her lofty extra-curricular activities with positions on the lacrosse and field hockey teams at Wilmington Friends School, a private school in her hometown.
In addition to Ashley, Joe Biden had three children with his first wife, Neilia.
Neilia and their infant daughter Naomi died tragically in a car accident in December 1972, shortly after Mr Biden was elected to the Senate.
Their sons, Hunter and Beau, were also in the car at the time but survived.
Tragedy struck the Biden family again in 2015, when Beau died from brain cancer.
A CAREER IN SOCIAL WORK… AND A FORAY INTO FASHION
Making a difference: Ashley, pictured with her father at a 2016 cocktail party, has built a career as a social worker and a social justice advocate before leaving her role last year
Foray into fashion: Three years ago, Ashley announced she was launching a passion project, a line of sweatshirts that benefited local charitable causes in Delaware. Fashionista Olivia Palermo and Vice President and Dr Biden (right) supported Ashley at the launch
Personal motivation: The logo for her brand, Livelihood, pays tribute to her brother Beau (right) who died in 2015. Pictured, Ashley with brothers Hunter and Beau at the Democratic National Convention in 2012
Driven by her early interest, Ashley has pursued a career as a social justice activist and social worker.
For 15 years, she worked as a social worker in the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families, during which time she created programs that focused on juvenile justice, foster care and mental health.
In 2012 she joined the Delaware Center for Justice as an associate director, focusing on criminal justice reform in the state. She helped establish and run programs and services at the center focused on public education, adult victim services, gun violence, incarcerated women, and community reentry. In 2014 she was promoted to Executive Director of the center, and served in that capacity until 2019.
‘Every day is really powerful,’ she said of her work in 2017. ‘Last night one of the case managers got someone a job out of prison, and she went at nine o’clock at night to get him a uniform for his new job, and snapped a photo of him just looking so proud to be back to work and in that uniform. The work we are doing is impacting real people.’
Three years ago, Ashley announced she was launching a passion project, a line of sweatshirts that benefited local charitable causes in Delaware, inspired by the death of her brother Beau. Its logo, an ‘LH’ with an arrow shot through it, pays tribute to him.
‘We have to sometimes be pulled all the way down to shoot forward. He was my bow. His cancer brought me to my knees,’ she said in an interview with the Washington Post. ‘I had no choice but to shoot forward, keep going, keep aiming at my own dreams.’
The aim is to donate 10 per cent of sales to community organizations in designated Zip codes.
‘The most effective social programs are in local communities,’ she has said previously. ‘They know best where funding should go.’
Vice President Biden made an appearance at the New York Fashion Week event promoting the label, saying he was ‘very proud’ of his daughter.
Ashley flexed her fashion designer muscles again last year when she created new uniforms for the Hamilton Hotel in Washington D.C., as an offshoot of Livelihood.
A PRIVATE MARRIAGE
Private life: Ashley is married to Dr Howard Krein, an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University and a founding partner and co-director of Jefferson’s Facial Aesthetic and Reconstructive Center, who is 14 years her senior
Out of the spotlight: Ashley and Howard spend most of their time out of the spotlight. Pictured, posing with Jill Biden on a 2013 visit to India
Family: Ashley Biden with her father, mother and husband Howard in Singapore in 2013
Ashley is married to Dr Howard Krein, an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University and a founding partner and co-director of Jefferson’s Facial Aesthetic and Reconstructive Center.
QUESTIONS OVER WHITE HOUSE ACCESS
Joe Biden’s campaign last month faced questions about the role of his son-in-law after a report that Howard Krein has been advising the Democrat on the coronavirus amid a possible conflict of interest.
Krein’s venture capital business, StartUp Health, has been running a special initiative to invest in health care startups that offer solutions to the COVID pandemic, Politico reported, as Krein participated in daily calls to brief Biden on the virus.
His dual roles of advising the campaign while investing into solutions to the outbreak could be a conflict of interest or lead to questions about whether his business is benefiting from his father-in-law.
Dr Krein does not have any formal policy or advisory role with the campaign, a Biden official told DailyMail.com.
Krein occasionally joined calls with Biden to provide his perspective as a health care worker who has been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, including treating patients and helping to coordinate his hospital’s response.
Krein, 53, also served on the Biden Cancer Initiative’s Board of Directors from 2017 to 2019.
The couple met in 2010 after being introduced by Ashley’s older brother, Beau.
Less than two years later Philadelphia-native Howard, who is 15 years Ashley’s senior, popped the question in a romantic sunset proposal on top of a cliff in Big Sur, California, after asking Vice President Biden for his blessing.
The couple married in the summer of 2012 at Brandywine Roman Catholic Church, in Greenville, Delaware, where Ashley was baptized.
A Rabbi officiated the inter-faith service, which reflected her Catholic traditions and his Jewish ones.
Ashley remains a practicing Catholic and was granted a private audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican in 2016.
The bride, who was walked down the aisle by her proud father, looked resplendent in a Vera Wang gown with a flattering sweetheart neckline and stunning tiered fishtail train.
Speaking to People magazine ahead of the nuptials, Vice President Biden admitted he was worried he might be overcome with emotion on the day.
‘I kept telling Ash, we’ve got to open up the church and practice walking up and down the aisle so I can handle it,’ he said.
After the ceremony, the couple and 200 family and friends travelled to the Biden’s lakeside family home in nearby Wilmington for the reception, where food was served family style in the backyard.
Joe and Jill Biden had reportedly personally spent time in the garden to ensure it was looking its best for the nuptials.
Ashley and Howard set up home in Philadelphia, where they are believed to still live.
BY HER FATHER’S SIDE
Growing up: Joe Biden smiles at his daughter Ashley in a photo taken in the 1980s
Front row seat: Jill, Joe and Ashley Biden listen to Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention
Proud: Ashley introducing her father at the Father Of The Year Awards in 2016
Public outings: In recent months, Ashley has joined her father in public. Pictured, laying a wreath during a remembrance service at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, in March
As of June last year, Ashley had not officially joined her father campaign.
Unlike Ivanka, she prefers out of the spotlight and has not been an omnipresent figure on the campaign trail.
However there is no doubt Ashley is proud about what her father has achieved, once even introducing him on stage at the glitzy Father Of The Year Awards.
In recent months Ashley has also taken on a more public role in the campaign and notably introduced Vice President Biden at the virtual Democratic National Convention, alongside her brother Hunter.
‘He’ll be rock steady…he’ll treat everyone with respect no matter who you are,’ she said, in her virtual address. ‘He’ll love you with all of his heart,’ adding that his whole family believe this because it is how he has treated his children and grandchildren.
Ashley also stood alongside her mother when Joe Biden at a primary election rally in South Carolina, wiping away a tear as her father delivered his speech.
In August, Ashley lent her voice to host an event for Wisconsin Women for Biden to discuss the Women’s Agenda, released by her father’s campaign, and bring awareness to women’s issues in the 2020 United States presidential election.
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