Vice President Joe Biden claims he “became a professor” after leaving the White House in 2017, but reports from the time say neither he nor the university that hired him expected him to teach any classes, and students and faculty were confused about what he would be doing.
Biden made the claim Wednesday at a campaign event in Georgetown, South Carolina, saying he “became a teacher, became a professor” rather than “taking a Wall Street job” before his book about his son, Beau, released. The University of Pennsylvania did indeed make Biden the “Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor” in 2017, but neither the school nor Biden expected him to teach any classes, according to comments at the time.
“He will not be teaching classes,” Biden spokesperson Kate Bedingfield said in 2017.
One article at The Daily Pennsylvanian featured the headline “No One Is Really Sure What Joe Biden Will Be Doing At Penn.”
UPenn announced Biden’s hiring on February 7, just a week after he left office, and by the end of February Biden’s role was “still uncertain” and “being ironed out,” University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy told the Pennsylvanian.
MacCarthy did not respond to a request for comment. (RELATED: ‘I Wasn’t Arrested’: Joe Biden Admits He Lied Numerous Times About South African Trip)
One student at the time wrote that UPenn was paying Biden “to essentially do nothing but sporadically show his face on campus.”
The student was not far from the truth. Biden appeared on the UPenn campus four times to make speeches in 2017 and made another four speeches in 2018. Penn paid him $776,527 for his trouble, nearly double the average salary for everyday professors, according to PhillyMag.
When the Daily Caller asked whether Biden had in fact taught any courses since being hired, UPenn Vice Provost for Faculty Anita Allen did not list any, saying his work was instead based in Washington. (RELATED: Joe Bide: ‘No Man Has The Right To Touch A Woman…Other Than Self-Defense)
“Vice President Biden was hired principally to lead the Washington D.C. Penn Biden Center, which opened in 2018,” she said, clarifying that he began a leave of absence in April 2019.
Allen emphasized that “it is not unusual for a Penn faculty member to engage in something other than ordinary classroom teaching as their primary responsibility.”
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.