Ivanka Trump’s role as advisor to President Trump was original in its kind for a First Daughter, and some have speculated that Ashley Biden, the only child of Jill and Joe, will similarly advise her father.

The public has for a long-time been familiar with Joe Biden’s sad family back story: that his first wife Neilia, 30, and 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car crash prior to Christmas 1972, consigning him to the role of a grieving single father to the young boys, Hunter and Beau.

Hunter Biden/photo taken from abandoned laptop

Beau’s story also ended in tragedy, when he died of brain cancer aged 46 in 2015. While Hunter disreputably descended into drug addiction, was thrown out of the military for taking drugs, and controversially jeopardized Biden’s presidential bid when he did not pick up a laptop containing highly sensitive material from a repair shop, among other dalliances.

Given the spotlight often placed on these calamities, Biden and his wife Jill have so far kept their only child, Ashley, born in 1981, out of the media’s reach. Often cited details about her are that she holds environmental and social issues dear. Or that, when she discovered beauty brand, Bonne Bell, tested their products on animals, in her youth, she was encouraged by her father to write a letter and ask the company to change its policies. This is said to have led to a later interest in the environment, particularly dolphin conservation.

Biden’s Livelihood Brand Logo

Following graduation from the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters in Social Policy and Practice, Ashley Biden has been a social worker at the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youths and their Families, specializing on foster care and mental health. In 2017 she set up her “passion project”—a line of sweatshirts with an arrow shot through the heart in memory of Beau. She said in an interview with The Washington Post that “he was my bow. His cancer brought me to my knees. I had no choice but to shoot forward, keep going, keep aiming at my own dreams.

In another interview with Glamour magazine, also promoting the launch, she indicated that she might want to embrace public service, saying, “My dad is a lifelong public servant; my mum was a public-school teacher. It’s in my DNA.

Love for her father was evident at the Democratic National Convention last summer when she told the audience: “He’ll be rock steady; he’ll treat everyone with respect no matter who you are. He’ll love you with all of his heart. He is a good man. 

Like Hunter, Ashley has also been plagued by addiction: she was reportedly arrested in 1999 for marijuana possession, though no file has been recordedone classmate of Ashley, Nat Berman, stated that he bailed Ashley out of jail after the 1999 marijuana arrest in New Orleans. Then, in 2002, she was allegedly arrested for obstructing a police officer. Later, in 2009, when her father served as vice president in the Obama administration, a video surfaced apparently featuring Ashley snorting cocaine through a red straw. It was peddled around US tabloids, and a New York Post story at the time reported that the video owner was seeking $2 million for the film. Still, the attempted ‘sting’ was brushed undercover and never denied.

She has, at times, spoken of her problems, and in messages found on Hunter’s laptop, she reprimanded him and showed disappointment after finding out he was having an affair with his dead brother’s widow: “I am filled with anger. Rage. And so maybe best to talk when it subsides.” In another message, talking about alcoholism, she said, “I thought I was ‘in love’ until I got sober + realized it was all a joke. This disease is cunning + baffling. Now sober, I realized how much damage I did and how much my mind played tricks on me.” She told Hunter that she is there for him if he can commit to becoming sober.  

Reports indicate that Ashley fully rehabilitated herself around 2010 when she was introduced—by Beau—to her future husband, plastic surgeon Dr. Howard Krein, who at 53, is 14 years older than her. Krein’s health care company has drawn attention when it experienced considerable growth after promotion via the White House during the Obama years. 

Speaking about a possible new role for Ashley in the Biden Administration, a Washington insider speaking to Daily Mail.com said, “Ashley knows who she is and what she wants to accomplish; she’s a formidable force. She has been through a lot and that makes her empathetic to others.” 

Enjoying our content? Appreciate a daily dose of Actual JournalismTM?
Please consider becoming an UncoverDC supporter.

Carol King received a first-class BA (honors) in History and Politics from Stirling University, along with an exceptional commendation for a study on US public opinion and Foreign Policy. She also completed a year of study at the University of London before taking up a Graduate Proctor Fellowship at Princeton University. She further completed a MPhil in American Politics at Dundee University. Aspiring to be a writer/commentator on American politics, she now writes for UncoverDC. Twitter: @CarolKing561