Here is why the Bidens seem to tower over the Carters in that bizarre viral photo of the president and first lady with their oldest living counterparts

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In this April 30, 2021, photo released by The White House, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter pose for a photo with President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden at the home of the Carter’s in Plains Ga.

  • A photo of Joe and Jill Biden meeting with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter last week has puzzled the internet.
  • The Bidens appear to tower over the former first couple in a photo taken at the Carters’ Georgia home.
  • A specific photography method and the framing of the photo are likely responsible for the oddity.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The internet was set ablaze Monday evening after former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter’s nonprofit, the Carter Center, shared a curious-looking photo of President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden posing with the former first couple last week in Georgia.

Like something out of a house of oddities, both Bidens appear to tower considerably over the Carters, who look like miniature figures seated in their chairs.

The photo seems to suggest that the Bidens are twice as large as the nonagenarian couple.

Jimmy Carter’s height is listed as 5′ 10″ while Biden is two inches taller. Rosalynn Carter, meanwhile, measures up at 5′ 5″, about one inch shorter than Jill Biden, who is 5′ 6″.

So, if the Bidens aren’t giants and the Carters aren’t tiny, what accounts for the bizarre photo?

A specific photography method and the framing of the photo are likely responsible for the illusion, according to The Washington Post and BBC News.

The photographer’s use of a wide-angle lens caused the Bidens, who are situated close to the edge, to appear enlarged. Meanwhile, the Carters, seated in the middle of the frame, look “pushed back,” BBC picture editor Phil Coomes told the outlet.

Marlena Sloss, a freelance photographer, told The Post that a strong flash also contributed to the effect. The flash reduces shadows, which play a role in giving photographed objects depth.

The Carters are both leaned back in their chairs, while the Bidens appear to be kneeling forward, giving the illusion that the two pairs are side-by-side and on the same plane, Sloss told the outlet.

The Bidens met with the Carters at their home in Plains, Georgia, during a trip to the state last week. It was the first time the two Democrats, who have a decades-long bond, had met in person since Biden’s inauguration.

The meeting was held in private, according to Yahoo News, as Jimmy Carter, 96, suffers from health problems that have impacted his ability to hear and speak.

The Carters are set to celebrate 75 years of marriage later this year.

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Newsmax host criticizes Biden for picking a dandelion for the first lady

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President Joe Biden gives a dandelion to first lady Jill Biden during their walk to Marine One on April 29, 2021.

  • Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield criticized Biden for picking up a dandelion for his wife, Jill.
  • “It’s a dandelion that hasn’t even blossomed into a flower yet,” Stinchfield said.
  • “I say it was a planted dandelion there,” he added. “Who knows?”
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Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield on Friday criticized President Joe Biden for stopping to pick a dandelion for first lady Jill Biden while they walked to the Marine One helicopter on the White House Ellipse, saying that if the flower is blown “then everybody starts sneezing.”

As Stinchfield remarked on the president’s gesture for his wife of 44 years, the television chyron read: “Biden bizarrely gives Jill a dandelion.”

“All right folks, take a look at this,” he said. “Joe Biden, getting on Marine One, and he stops and picks up … I think it’s a dandelion? But it’s a dandelion that hasn’t even blossomed into a flower yet, like it gives everybody asthma. So you blow it, it goes everywhere, and then everybody starts sneezing. Well, he picks up the weed and gives it to Jill as what I guess is supposed to be some kind of a sweet gesture.”

He added: “I say it was a planted dandelion there. Who knows?”

Read more: This millennial GOP congressman voted to impeach Trump. Now he’s trying to save his party from going off a cliff.

Stinchfield’s commentary struck a sharp contrast with other media outlets, such as Reuters, which framed the gesture as romantic.

The first lady held on to the dandelion as she boarded Marine One.

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‘Thank you, Jill’: The First Lady is a key voice on Joe Biden’s educational reforms

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First Lady Jill Biden.

  • Joe Biden credited First Lady Jill Biden for the boost to Pell Grants in his new spending plan.
  • Nearly 60% of Black students rely on Pell Grants to pay for college.
  • Jill Biden continues to teach at a community college and included education reforms in her First Lady agenda.
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President Joe Biden’s first joint address on Wednesday night, during which he officially unveiled his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, included a shoutout to a key influence on its educational reforms: First Lady Jill Biden.

Of the $1.8 trillion package, $318 billion of it is going to reforming the country’s education system, and Biden revealed that Jill Biden, who teaches at a community college while serving as First Lady, led the effort to include aid to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions (MSIs) and has been instrumental in advocating for education accessibility and certain education policies.

“She’s long said – if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: ‘Joe, any country that out educates us is going to outcompete us,'” Biden said during his speech.

Biden said in his speech that the reason for investing in Pell Grants is because HBCUs and MSIs “don’t have the endowments, but their students are just as capable of learning about cyber security, just as capable of learning about metallurgy, all the things that are going on that provide those jobs of the future,” and Jill Biden is to thank.

As part of the postsecondary education investments in the infrastructure plan, the president included investments in the Pell Grant program, which gives government subsidies to students who need it to pay for college. His plan proposed increasing the maximum Pell Grant award to $4,000, which would assist the nearly 7 million students who rely on Pell Grants.

This comes on top of a $39 billion program in the plan that provides two years of subsidized tuition for students from families earning less than $125,000 enrolled in a four-year HBCU or MSI.

A White House fact sheet said that among students of color, nearly 60% of Black, half of American Indian or Alaska Native, almost half of Latino, and over one-third of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students rely on Pell Grants to pay for college.

Jill Biden continues to teach classes at Northern Virginia Community College and has laid out an agenda of her own, which includes educational reforms.

“She’ll be deeply involved in leading this effort,” Biden said. “Thank you, Jill.”

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The Bidens encourage Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus in Easter message

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Jill and Joe Biden on January 20, 2021, at the US Capitol Building.

  • President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wished Americans a happy Easter in a video message.
  • In the video, the Bidens also urged Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as they can.
  • About 56 million Americans, or 17%, have been fully vaccinated, Johns Hopkins University data.
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In a recorded message, the Bidens wished Americans a happy Easter holiday and urged them to continue to take precautions against the coronavirus.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden appeared side by side in the video, and both extended holiday greetings in their joint address.

“Jill and I want to send you our warmest Easter greetings to you and your family. As we celebrate this most holy day, we know many are still going without familiar comforts of the season,” the president said. “The virus is not gone, and so many of us feel the longing and loneliness of distance. For a second year, most will be apart from their families, their friends, full congregations that fill us with joy.”

“Yet as the Gospel of John reminds us, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” he added.

The first lady echoed the president’s remarks, adding that she’s optimistic about the future of the United States in relation to economic downfalls and medical issues brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today, as spring returns, we see hope all around us,” she said. “Families are getting the financial help they need to take a breath once again. Businesses are recovering and more and more Americans are getting life-saving vaccines.”

The president spoke again after the first lady, encouraging all Americans to get a vaccine against the coronavirus whenever it’s available to them.

“By getting vaccinated and encouraging your congregations and your communities to get vaccinated, we not only can beat this virus, we can also haste the day when we can celebrate the holidays together again,” he said.

Biden referenced Pope Francis in his address, saying he and the first lady “share the sentiments” of Francis who in January referred to the vaccine as an ethical obligation.

In his own Easter address this weekend, the Pope also suggested that the coronavirus vaccine is a priority, adding that he hopes people around the world experiencing hardship because of the pandemic find relief soon.

“I urge the entire international community, in a spirit of global responsibility, to commit to overcoming delays in the distribution of vaccines and to facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries,” Francis said.

There have been at least 30 million positive coronavirus cases in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 554,000 Americans have died from it. So far, about 56 million Americans, or 17%, have been fully vaccinated, according to JHU data.

The statement from the Bidens directly contrasts the one put out by former President Donald Trump.

“Happy Easter to ALL, including the Radical Left CRAZIES who rigged our Presidential Election, and want to destroy our Country!” Trump said on Sunday.

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The Bidens, in a rare gesture, immediately greeted the White House residence staff upon entering the building on Inauguration Day, staffer says

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President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave as they arrive at the North Portico of the White House on January 20, 2021.

  • The Bidens immediately greeted the White House staff upon entering the building on Inauguration Day.
  • “Usually we meet them in the first days or first weeks, but never in the first minutes,” a staffer said.
  • Biden has publicly expressed some reservations about being waited on by residence staff.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Whenever the presidency changes hands, the White House residence staff undertakes a herculean task on Inauguration Day – transforming the private quarters of the historic building for its newest occupants within the span of a few hours.

For “lifers,” the staff members who have served multiple US Presidents, the traditions and protocols inside the White House have been an enduring facet of their lives for decades.

However, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden upended a traditional interaction with the residence staff on their first day in the White House, according to The New Yorker.

After entering the North Portico of the building, the residence staff was assembled on the grand State Floor to welcome the Bidens.

“The Bidens came in and the first thing they did was make a loop of the State Floor and greet the staff,” a residence staffer said.

The gesture elicited tears from the staffer, who is unnamed due to their current employment at the White House.

“We were all very flattered,” the residence staffer added. “Usually we meet them in the first days or first weeks, but never in the first minutes.”

The Bidens reportedly approached each staffer member and greeted them with well wishes.

In response to a comment, President Biden reportedly expressed to one of the staffers that he and his wife were “glad we’re here, too.”

Due to social distancing measures, employees were spread out throughout the floor.

The residence staffer remarked at the difference between how Biden approached the COVID-19 pandemic and that of Trump, where staffers were all assembled in one room before the former president’s departure.

“It’s like night and day,” the staffer said.

During a town hall in Milwaukee earlier this month, Biden described feeling uncomfortable with being waited on by the White House staff, including a worker who “hands me my suit coat.”

“I was raised in a way that you didn’t look for anybody to wait on you,” he said. “It’s where I find myself extremely self-conscious. There are wonderful people who work at the White House.”

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The Bidens were reportedly left waiting outside the White House on Inauguration Day because Trump sent the staff home

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Joe and Jill Biden outside the White House.

Joe and Jill Biden may have been waiting to enter the White House for longer than necessary on Inauguration Day because there was a lack of staff there to greet them.

In a break from White House protocol, the new President and First Lady were left standing in front of closed doors as they took photos outside of their new residence for the first time on Wednesday. 

Read more: Biden enters White House for first time since being sworn in as 46th US president

The Trumps “sent the butlers home when they left so there would be no-one to help the Bidens when they arrived,” a well-placed official not associated with the Biden administration told The National Journal.

Chief usher Timothy Harleth was also fired by the Trumps before they left on Wednesday morning, the publication reports. White House press secretary Jen Psak later confirmed that Harleth’s exit occurred “before we walked in the door.”

A video of the Bidens’ arrival shows them standing in front of the White House doors for a photo-op, which lasted more than one minute before they walked toward the residence. 

 

The doors then opened for the couple, although it is not clear from the video whether they were opened from the inside or outside.

A veteran White House social expert told The National Journal that it is a “big protocol breach for the president to ever stand in front of a closed-door at the White House.”

“That may be why there was nobody to open the doors to the Bidens. You couldn’t expect the Biden staff to know to do that. Doors are opened and closed by ushers. There are rules about all these things and everyone has their job,” they added. 

Read more: Over 1 million more people watched Biden’s inauguration than Trump’s

However, one former White House official told the publication that the couple’s team might have specifically requested the doors closed for the photo-op.

“But what should have happened is that a Biden staff member should have alerted the usher or staff person on the other side of that door that it was time to open it. That was a staff mistake,” they said.

Biden’s entrance was a complete contrast to Trump’s first visit to the White House on his Inauguration day four years prior. 

On January 20, 2017, Donald and Melanie Trump were greeted by former president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, who posed for the photos with the couple before they entered the building together through open doors. 

Trump broke tradition by opting not to attend Biden’s Inauguration ceremony last week. Instead, the former president made a brief farewell address at Joint Base Andrews before flying to South Florida with his wife.

Representatives for President Biden did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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Wall Street Journal op-ed telling Jill Biden to drop her ‘Dr’ title condemned as ‘patronizing drivel.’ Even the WSJ higher education reporter was disgusted.

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Dr. Jill Biden speaks during a stop with her husband, Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, on their “No Malarkey!” campaign bus tour in Mason City, Iowa, U.S., December 3, 2019.

  • An op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal on Friday sparked criticism after it suggested that First Lady-elect Jill Biden should drop her “Dr.” title because she is not a medical doctor.
  • Essayist Joseph Epstein urged Jill Biden to “drop the doc” in her name, saying that it “sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
  • A spokesperson for the first lady-elect called the op-ed a “disgusting and sexist attack,” as many public figures, including Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, tweeted in support.
  • Jill Biden holds a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and a doctorate of education and will become the only first lady to keep a full-time job while serving in office.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

An op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal on Friday sparked backlash after it suggested that First Lady-elect Jill Biden should drop her “Dr.” title because she is not a medical doctor.

In the opinion article, essayist Joseph Epstein addressed the President-elect Joe Biden’s wife as “kiddo.” Jill Biden is 69 years-old.

Epstein went on to offer her “advice” on “what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter.”

“‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic,” he wrote. “Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title ‘Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.'” 

“A wise man once said that no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child,” Epstein added.

Jill Biden is a university professor with a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and a doctorate of education, which she obtained from the University of Delaware in 2007.

Throughout her husband’s career, she has expressed her commitment to continue teaching and will become the only first lady in the role’s 231-year history to keep a full-time job while serving in office.

Michael LaRosa, a spokesman for Jill Biden, described Epstein’s piece as a “disgusting and sexist attack” and called on the Wall Street Journal to apologize and retract the article.  

The communications director for President-elect Joe Biden, Kate Bedingfield, also condemned the article, calling it “patronizing, sexist, elitist drivel,” according to Newsweek. 

 

“Dr. B earned a doctorate in education, so we call her Doctor. The title Mr. Epstein has earned here is perhaps not fit for mixed company,” Bedingfield added.

Epstein’s comments also sparked anger on social media, with many public figures in politics and academia alike stepping in to support Jill Biden.

Melissa Korn, who is the higher education reporter at the Wall Street Journal, called the column “disgusting.”

“Pieces like that make it harder for me to do my job,” she wrote.

Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and the country’s first incoming second gentleman, said Biden had earned her degrees “through hard work and pure grit.”

“She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country,” he wrote on Twitter. “This story would never have been written about a man.”

 

“The author could’ve used fewer words to just say ‘ya know in my day we didn’t have to respect women,'” Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, tweeted on Saturday.

Fellow education scholars also came to Jill Biden’s defense, with Ebony Elizabeth Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education writing, “President and Dr. Biden will be how they are addressed. Period.”

Jill Biden will use her background in education in her role as the first lady, with a close source telling Yahoo News earlier this month that she will push for debt-free community college.

“If we get to the White House, I’m gonna continue to teach,” she told CBS in August. “It’s important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions, and lift up the profession.”

Epstein has not yet commented on the criticism. Business Insider reached out to the Wall Street Journal for comment.

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Jill Biden will reportedly back debt-free community college as first lady

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Dr. Jill Biden.

  • Dr. Jill Biden, President-elect Joe Biden’s wife and the future first lady, will push for debt-free community college, according to a close source who spoke with Yahoo News.
  • “We have often talked about community colleges as the unsung heroes,” Martha Kanter, an under secretary of education during the administration of former President Barack Obama, told Yahoo News.
  • While serving as second lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017, Biden taught English at Northern Virginia Community College.
  • Biden plans to return to teaching as first lady, which would make her the only woman in the role’s 231-year history to have a full-time job while assuming the duties of the position, according to USA Today.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dr. Jill Biden, President-elect Joe Biden’s wife and the future first lady, will push for debt-free community college, a close source told Yahoo News.

Martha Kanter, an under secretary of education during the administration of former President Barack Obama, said that Biden’s lifelong commitment to education will extend to her role as first lady, with debt-free community college as a priority.

“That is what she would like to see,” Kanter told Yahoo News. “We have often talked about community colleges as the unsung heroes,” she said, adding that Biden has sought “to really help people understand the value proposition and the return on investment and why it’s important.”

Biden is also slated to advocate for the education issues that the president-elect championed during his campaign, according to the report. Those issues include doubling the number of psychologists, counselors, social workers, and other health workers in schools and improving teacher pay.

A longtime educator, Biden spent a large part of her professional career teaching at the community college level. While serving as second lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017, she was also an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College. Before that, she taught for 15 years at Delaware Technical Community College.

She plans to return to teaching as first lady, which would make her the only woman in the role’s 231-year history to have a full-time job while assuming the duties of the position, according to USA Today.

“Teaching has always been more than just a job to her – it’s who she is,” said Biden spokesperson Michael LaRosa to Yahoo News.

Biden, who earned two master’s degrees from West Chester University and Villanova University, respectively, in addition to a doctorate from the University of Delaware, has been a staunch supporter of community colleges.

During a 2015 speech at the National Legislative Summit, a leading community college advocacy event, she credited her grandmother with her love of education and detailed the rewards of helping students with their reading skills.

“Teaching is my life’s work,” Biden said at the time. “I teach because I love seeing the difference that I hope to make in my students’ lives. My goal is to always give them confidence in their own abilities, because I know confidence will carry them well beyond my classroom in whatever they do. As I work hard every day to inspire my students, it is ultimately they who inspire me.”

Kanter told Yahoo news that Biden’s classroom experience gives her a “critical voice” for upcoming education debates.

“She’s … knowledgeable about the challenges,” she said. “Why do students leave? Why do they drop out? What are the barriers that we better work much harder and to get out of the way? And I think that’s what she’s going to say.”

While Obama tried to enact legislation making two years of community college free, he faced GOP opposition in the Senate. While the president-elect will face similar headwinds, especially if Republicans retain control of the Senate after the January 2021 runoff elections in Georgia, the incoming first lady has “an informal but crucial role advising the president-elect,” according to a former staffer.

“She’s been a pretty great sounding board throughout his career,” the staffer said to Yahoo News. “She will have a very ambitious portfolio and I’m sure she’s particularly influential on the education front. She’s got decades of experience there.”

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