President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden opened up about their belief that “there’s no real upside” to living in the White House in a Vogue Magazine cover story published online on Tuesday.
The first lady will appear on the cover of Vogue’s August issue, for which she was photographed by Annie Leibovitz and interviewed by Jonathan Van Meter.
“It was ‘Hail to the Chief’ and all that stuff when I was a young senator. But I never had a desire for that piece of it,” Biden said, telling Vogue that the Obamas likely felt the same way. “There was no real upside to living physically in the White House. It’s the greatest honor in the world…but there’s no privacy. And the pomp-and-circumstance part is not something we’ve ever gone out of our way to look for.”
As has been previously reported, Biden was hesitant to run for president in 2020. It was his third bid, following unsuccessful runs in 1988 and 2008, and after having served eight years in the Obama White House as vice president and losing his son Beau to cancer in 2015.
It was ultimately the Trump presidency that propelled Biden to run again.
“Jill said, ‘You gotta run. Because there’s so much at stake,'” Biden told Vogue. “So this was the first time I ran…without thinking about any of the accoutrements of, you know, I could have Air Force One or I could have. . . . I think part of that got knocked out by being vice president. And I realized that I probably-whether I’m right or not-knew more about the issues than most people because I’ve been around so long.”
And while the Bidens are no strangers to public life, the president also revealed that the demands and pressures of the presidency make it incredibly difficult for him and the first lady to spend any time together.
The first lady has traveled all around the country promoting the Biden administration’s initiatives on everything from vaccination to the American Rescue Plan, in addition to keeping up her job teaching English at Northern Virginia Community College.
“I miss her. I’m really proud of her. But it’s not like we can just go off like we used to. When we were living in Delaware and married, once a month we’d just go up to a local bed-and-breakfast by ourselves, to make sure we had a romantic time to just get away and hang out with each other,” Biden told Vogue adding, that now, “You can’t. I’m not complaining. It’s part of the deal. But this life prevents it.”