Joe Biden is no stranger to the region. He has spent close to 50 years in DC’s political scene—eight of them as vice president. (Remember when he and Obama got their burger fill at the former Ray’s Hell Burger in Rosslyn?) This time, however, it’s a bit different. His new digs: the White House. And his new title: president.
But that’s no sweat for this seasoned politician. He’ll surely step into the role (and new abode) just as easily as he takes off those signature aviators, revealing a twinkle in his eye to match his friendly grin. He’ll have plenty of support from his family along the way, too: Jill, kids Hunter and Ashley and seven grandchildren—not to mention his brothers and sister and the rest of the branches of the tree. By all accounts, he’s a devoted father and doting grandpa, and staying in touch with his loved ones is important, no matter what’s on that day’s schedule or what far-off place he may be visiting.
“He calls his children and grandchildren all the time,” says Vienna native Joe Rogalsky, who worked on the late Beau Biden’s campaign for attorney general of Delaware in 2010 and as director of legislative and external affairs for the Delaware Department of Justice from 2011 to 2014. “They’re a very close family.” Various members of Biden’s clan have traveled with him on campaign stops. It’s not surprising, either, for him to show up at a cross-country meet or grandparents’ day, says Rogalsky, who now works in the Delaware DOJ’s Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust. And, no, dinner-table conversations with the fam don’t revolve around politics, he adds. Instead, they’ll chat about the grandkids and what’s going on in one another’s lives.
Another part of that extended family are the first couple’s German shepherds, Champ and Major. The latter pooch is a rescue pup whom the couple fostered then adopted from the Delaware Humane Association. Then there’s his team. “When you work with the Bidens as a staffer, you kind of become part of the family,” says Rogalsky. He recalls times while at events for Beau’s campaign that his dad would call from wherever he was in the world, and the younger Biden would tell him who was there. It could be people who had helped his dad on the first senate race and remained connected over the years. “It wasn’t unusual … for Beau to hand the phone over to Mrs. Connoway or Mr. Callio, [for example,] or all these other people who had been friends of the family for a long time.” The elder Biden would shoot the breeze with them, as if he’d never left and no time had passed. “It’s things like that,” finishes Rogalsky. And we welcome that with open arms.
This story originally appeared in the January issue as part of a special Inauguration feature. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.