President-elect Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden in an exclusive interview said it was “unfortunate” that First Lady Melania Trump did not honor a “traditional protocol” in reaching out to her mother, former Second Lady Jill Biden, about arranging the transfer-of-power ritual on the morning of Wednesday’s inauguration.
“Has your mom heard from Melania about doing the traditional protocols,” Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush asked Ashley in her first interview with NBC’s “Today” show that aired on Tuesday.
“No, I don’t think they’re doing the traditional protocol, which is unfortunate, but I think we’re all OK with it,” Ashley said, shrugging off the apparent snub from Melania towards Jill.
Incoming First Lady spokesman, Michael LaRosa confirmed reports that Melania hasn’t invited Jill to the White House nor has he heard from the First Lady’s office. However, LaRosa noted that the White House has extended an invitation for Biden and his family to stay overnight at Blair House, the presidential guest residence across from the White House ahead of president-elect inaugural. The Bidens accepted the customary invitation, a tradition that began under President Jimmy Carter.
Jill has also confirmed that she has not heard from Melania regarding any kind of traditional handoff at the White House to occur during Inauguration Day.
The unexpected break from tradition is reported to be unusual for Melania, as she was seen to have carried out many traditional first lady engagements, particularly those involving children during her four-year tenure.
The decades-old tradition consists of the outgoing first family greeting the incoming first family on the steps of the North Portico (“the President’s entrance”) of the White House on the morning of the inaugural ceremony. Then the two families will ride together on the presidential motorcade to the U.S. Capitol where the new president will partake in their swear-in ceremony either before or at noon on Jan. 20, officially marking them as the new president of the United States.
On Wednesday, the Trumps have planned to depart the White House on Marine One in the early morning to fly off to Joint Base Andrews where the president and First Lady will hold a farewell rally before boarding Air Force One for the last time heading to Palm Beach, Florida. The send-off at the tarmac just before Biden is sworn in is reported to include a 21-Gun Salute, red carpet, and military Color Guard.
Former President Barack Obama and Michelle welcomed the Trumps to the White House shortly after the 2016 election and on Inauguration Day in 2017. When the Trumps arrived at the White House for the procedural swap of presidencies, Melania didn’t come empty-handed
surprising the outgoing first lady by handing her the gift of the trademark blue box from Tiffany & Co, handing the former First Lady. The gift was later to be revealed to be a “lovely frame”
he has said before it was a frame). Though Obama didn’t say anything more than that snide comment on Fallon’s show, Obama had previously told Ellen DeGeneres she didn’t know what to do with the gift because it was awkward and didn’t follow protocol. Barack Obama had to hand the gift off to an aide
Melania in an attempt to gifted Michelle a Tiffany jewelry before they departed to the Capitol for the inauguration events.
Earlier this month, President Trump in his last ever tweet said that he would not be attending Biden’s swearing-in ceremony. Trump will be the fourth president in U.S. history breaking from tradition one of the nation’s most prominent public displays of a peaceful transfer of power between presidential administrations.
Former first lady Michelle Obama slammed the Trumps for refusing to take part in the customary hand-off of duties with the Bidens, saying the First family is turning their backs on a tradition that was extended to them.
“I have to be honest and say that none of this was easy for me,” Michelle shared on Instagram. “Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger. That wasn’t something I was ready to forgive. But I knew that, for the sake of our country, I had to find the strength and maturity to put my anger aside.”
Despite crying foul that Melania snubbed her by not reaching out, Jill’s situation is quite different than of her former incoming first ladies, as she is more than familiar with how the White House operates after serving eight years as Second Lady under the Obama administration.
Ashely, the only child of Joe and Jill confirmed that she will not take a role under her father’s administration, an apparent jab towards President Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump who resigned from her family business, The Trump Organization, as well as shutting down her infamous clothing company in order to serve as an unpaid Senior Advisor.
“I will however hopefully use this platform to advocate for social justice, for mental health, to be involved in community development and revitalization,” Ashely said, saying she will focus on her career and issues more important to her.
“I do hope to bring awareness and education to some topics, subjects that are really important,” she added.
Ashley slammed the media for characterizing her father as a “gaffe machine.”
“I thought the media kind of always got it wrong when they made him out to be this gaffe machine, or that he wasn’t, you know, as smart. I mean, the man is brilliant.”
She spoke about the attacks on the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6, describing the riot as “truly horrifying” while citing her fears for her father’s safety during his inauguration.
“I was deeply saddened that this was a place I grew up going as a child, as you did too,” Ashley said. “And a place where Dad has worked for over 30 years, a sacred place really, and to see what happened, really to see what was going on, I mean it was truly horrifying.”
The incoming first daughter has largely remained out of the spotlight during the 2020 presidential campaign, doing only a handful of virtual fundraising events. She noted that she is a very private person and does not have any public social media accounts.
The last time the American public heard from Ashely was in August during the final night of the Democratic National Convention, where she appeared alongside her controversial half-brother, Hunter Biden to introduce their father in alternating dual remarks before he accepted the Democratic nomination for president.
Ashley indirectly mentioned the scandals plaguing Hunter while discussing how her family handled the bitterly contested 2020 presidential election saying she “knows the truth” about her half-brother while calling the attacks towards her family as cruel and mean.
“Yes it hurts, but you also know the truth. At the end of the day, they may get it wrong, but at least I got it right. At least I know the real deal. I know, you know, the type of man my father is, and the woman my mother is, and the man my brother is,” Ashely said.
“The cruelty and the meanness, that’s why I don’t have a social media account that’s public. Part of it is also having boundaries for myself because I believe in kindness, and I believe in the humanity of all of us,” she added.
She also spoke about her deceased half-brother, Beau Biden, and the close bond they had before he passed away in 2015 from brain cancer. The incoming First Daughter said that she knows that Beau “will be there with us.”
“He was 46 when he passed,” Ashley said. “Dad will be the 46th president.”
Despite having a low-profile, Tuesday’s interview on the Today Show is seen as an indication that Ashley is planning to have a higher profile as First Daughter.