In what many are calling a petty swipe, news commentator Megyn Kelly on Sunday took issue with the introduction of First Lady Jill Biden as “Dr. Jill Biden” during the NFC Championship Game.
Biden was spotted sitting in a luxury suite at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia near NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, rooting on her favored Eagles to victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
When Fox cameras zoomed in on the first lady, she was identified as “Dr. Jill Biden — First Lady of the United States.” Though she earned a doctorate in education, Kelly referred to her as a “wannabe” for not having a “real” degree.
Kelly went on to insist her degree was a “fake title”:
“Announcers for this Eagles-49ers game just spotted the First Lady in a box and of course call her ‘Dr. Jill Biden,'” Kelly tweeted. “Wonder if she realizes what a wannabe she looks like insisting on this fake title.”
Kelly added: “Get a real MD or just work on your self-esteem.”
Kelly’s tweets invited significant backlash.
The New York Post noted a few stinging responses to Kelly’s tweets.
- “When the worst criticism you can muster of the First Lady is her use of a title she legitimately earned” (Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney).
- “You tell someone to work on their self esteem while belittling them. Man you are a piece of work” (Harry Dunn, a Capitol Police officer).
- “Such a pathetic, sad human being” (MSNBC executive producer Kyle Griffin).
Jill Biden was awarded a doctorate in 2007; she was teaching English at Northern Virginia Community College at the time of the Obama-Biden administration. Some, however, have taken issue with the first lady’s instructions to refer to her as “Dr. Jill Biden” when she is not a medical doctor.
The Post noted that In December 2020, the Wall Street Journal published a controversial opinion piece by Joseph Epstein, who urged the first lady not to insist on using the doctorate title, which to him seemed “fraudulent, even comic.”
Epstein demeaned the value of Biden’s doctorate of education, arguing that her dissertation titled “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs” was a sign that “the prestige of honorary doctorates has declined even further.”
Epstein received significant backlash for his opinion piece, including having his name removed from the Northwestern University website, where he lectured.
In late 2020, First Lady Jill Biden told Stephen Colbert that being awarded a doctorate was “one of the things she was most proud of.”
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