Joe Biden comes from a large but united family.
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is the eldest of four children born to Joseph Biden Sr. and Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan Biden. Joe was born first on November 20, 1942, followed by his sister, Valeriein 1945, and brothers James in 1949 and Francis “Frank” in 1953. Despite the large age gap between Joe and his brothers (seven and 11 years respectively), the the siblings grew up extremely close and remain so today.
“Everything comes from my mom and dad,” Valerie told PEOPLE of their strong bond. “…They told us, honestly to God, from the beginning, that we were a gift to each other. There was nothing closer than brothers and sisters.
This closeness helped the Bidens weather difficult times, including the death in a car accident of Joe’s first wife, Neilia, and his granddaughter, Naomiand the death of Joe’s son, Beauto brain cancer – and celebrate successes, like Joe’s 2020 presidential victory.
Although Joe currently holds one of the most powerful positions in the world, to his siblings he is still just their big brother.
“I think your role, your place in the family or the right of primogeniture, I don’t think that ever changes,” Valerie told PEOPLE. “Joe’s the oldest, I’m the only one, Jimmy’s the prankster, Frankie’s the baby.” We could be 100 years old, and when we get together, we inevitably fall into the same situations.
From their childhood beginnings to their careers, here’s everything you need to know about Joe Biden’s younger brothers, Jim Biden and Frank Biden.
They grew up in Delaware
Even though Joe often talks about his childhood in Scranton, PennsylvaniaThe Biden brothers spent most of their youth in Delaware after their father — after some business failures — got a job as a used car salesman in Wilmington in 1953.
The family moved into an apartment in Claymont, Delaware, where they spent a few years before moving to a modest split-level house in Wilmington, The New York Times reported. The Biden family remained in this house until all four children were grown.
Joe, Jim and Frank also all attended the University of Delaware. Joe graduated from the university in 1965, while Frank was a student there in the 1970s along with Joe’s future wife, Dr. Jill Biden.
They helped Joe launch his political career
In 1972, Joe ran for U.S. Senate in Delaware. His chances of winning the Senate seat were considered unlikely: Joe was a 29-year-old lawyer whose only political experience was serving a term on the New Castle, Delaware, city council. Meanwhile, his opponent, J. Caleb Boggs, 63, was a popular Republican who had previously served two terms as governor and two terms in the Senate. A poll taken three months before Election Day predicted Joe would win less than 20% of the vote, according to The New York Times.
But Joe enlisted the help of his family to take the position. Valerie was the campaign manager, Jim was responsible for fundraising and Frank coordinated the student volunteers, The Washington Post reported.
“We knew Joey could win, so everyone in the family worked seventeen hour days for eighteen months to make sure he did,” Valérie said The Washingtonian in 1974. “It was truly a family business. »
Professional campaign consultants advised Joe against letting his family run his campaign, The Washingtonian ” reported, suggesting he would be more successful if he abandoned his “family man” image. However, Joe was adamant.
“I’m a family man and I’d rather lose with my family than win without them,” he said, according to The Washingtonian.
But Joe didn’t lose with his family; he won the U.S. Senate seat — with help from his family — by just over 3,000 votes.
They helped Joe cope with the loss of his first wife and daughter.
Tragedy struck Joe’s family on December 18, 1972, just weeks after he was elected to the U.S. Senate. His first wife, Neilia, and their three children, Beau, Hunter and Naomi, were traveling in their family station wagon when it collided with a tractor-trailer. Neilia and Naomi, who were only 13 months old at the time, were both killed in the accident. Beau and Hunter, who were 4 and 3 at the time, were also injured, but survived.
“By the tone of the phone call, you knew it,” Joe said in 2012 about the accident while speaking to the families of fallen American soldiers. “You just felt it in your bones: Something horrible has happened.»
However, his younger brother Jim helped Joe through the devastating events. According to The Washington PostJim identified Neilia and Naomi’s bodies after the accident and broke the news to his older brother and Neilia’s parents that they had died.
But Jim’s support doesn’t stop there. After Neilia and Naomi died, he converted a garage outside Joe’s house into an apartment and moved in to help Joe raise Hunter and Beau. Jim also traveled with his brother on congressional trips.
“I basically became a Senate wife for the first year,” Jim said, according to THE Washington Post.
But, according to Joe, he wouldn’t have survived the loss of his wife and young daughter without the crucial support of Jim and the rest of the Biden family.
“I had an overwhelming advantage in defeat,” Joe said during a July 2023 episode of the show. On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast. “I had very close family that was there…They were there for me.”
Frank introduced Joe to his now wife, Jill Biden
Joe wasn’t the first member of the Biden family to meet Jill, as she first crossed paths with her younger brother, Frank, when they were both students at the University of Delaware.
“I met a gregarious young man from Wilmington, a college student named Frank,” she wrote in her 2019 memoir. Where does the light enter?. “He and I would say hello to each other, stopping every now and then to chat. It wasn’t until much later that I took note of his last name: Biden. Frank Biden.
Joe first noticed Jill when he saw her photo in an advertisement at the Wilmington airport. (She appeared in an ad campaign for New Castle County Parks and Recreation as a favor to a friend.) According to Jill’s memoir, he told his brother, Frank, who was picking him up at the airport , that she was the type of girl. he would like to go out with him.
“And Frank said, ‘Well, why not, then?’ I know her,” Jill recalled in Where does the light enter?. “Frankie got my number from a mutual friend of ours and Joe called the next day.”
Frank also worked in politics, like his older brother
At one point in his career, Frank followed in his older brother’s footsteps and embarked on a political career. During Bill ClintonDuring his first term as President, Frank served as Director of Parliamentary, Legislative and Public Affairs at the Government Printing Office (now known as the Government Publishing Office), according to The Washington Post.
THE Government Publishing Office is a government agency responsible for publishing and distributing “official government publications to Congress, federal agencies, federal depository libraries, and the public.” Frank defended his role there The Wilmington News in 1996, speak Daily Mailinsisting that this had no overlap with his older brother’s duties in the Senate.
Frank also stated that Joe had no involvement in getting the job, the Daily Mail reported. Instead, he said a friend alerted him to the position he held from 1993 to 1997.
“People have a natural tendency to be nice to someone who is related to someone they admire,” Frank said. The Wilmington News.
Jim has a close relationship with Joe’s son Hunter
Jim and his nephew, Joe’s younger son Hunter, have had a close relationship since Hunter was a child. After Joe’s wife and young child died, Jim moved into Joe’s garage to help with the boys – and has continued to help him ever since.
Joe remembers one particular incident when Jim came to help Hunter move into an apartment in New Haven, Connecticut while he was attending law school. When Jim realized the apartment needed a new coat of paint, he took action for his nephew.
“My brother Jimmy, who fixes everything – my brother Jimmy was with us, and we went and bought about 28 gallons of paint,” the president said at a conference in Connecticut, according to THE Washington Post. “For real. It was hot as hell.
Their close bond continued into adulthood, with the couple working together professionally. In 2006, Jim and Hunter purchased an international hedge fund called Paradigm Global Advisors. However, the uncle and nephew closed the fund in 2010 after the global recession reduced their income, Politico reported.
The failure of the business venture did not impact their relationship. On several occasions, Hunter called his uncle his best friend.
“Listen, my uncle is the most extraordinary man, one of the most extraordinary people I know,” Hunter said on Marc Maron. WTF podcast, by The Washington Post. “Yeah. He’s literally there for everyone. He’s my, he’s my best friend in the world, my Uncle Jim. I mean, he’s an incredible human being in his own right.