Jill Biden spoke publicly Thursday about the outcry following a Wall Street Journal column that called for the soon-to-be first lady to drop her "Dr." title.
Joining husband and President-elect Joe Biden for the couple's first joint interview on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Jill Biden was asked by the host Stephen Colbert about the WSJ column from essayist Joseph Epstein that called for removing the title "for now."
"Madame First Lady — Mrs. Biden — Jill — kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter," Epstein began the column. "Any chance you might drop the 'Dr.' before your name?"
Biden said she did not see the column, which many have derided as sexist, coming. "That was such a surprise," she said.
"It was really the tone of it," Jill Biden said. "He called me 'kiddo.' "
The original outcry: Wall Street Journal doubling down on column suggesting Jill Biden drop 'Dr.' title
Jill Biden received a doctoral degree in education from the University of Delaware in 2007, and also attained master's degrees from West Chester University and Villanova University.
"One of the things I’m most proud of is my doctorate," said Jill Biden. "I’ve worked so hard for it."
Colbert read a portion of her memoir, "Where the Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself" where Jill Biden wrote, "The role I have always felt most at home in is Dr. Biden."
Joe Biden pointed out in the interview that he proudly handed his wife her doctoral degree on the University of Delaware stage during the graduation ceremony.
Jill Biden said she was touched by the voices who spoke out on her behalf in the column aftermath.
"Look at all the people who came out in support of me. I am so grateful. I was just overwhelmed by how gracious people were," she said.
Among these voices were former first lady Michelle Obama and Doug Emhoff, the husband to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
"She will be a terrific role model not just for young girls but for all of us, wearing her accomplishments with grace, good humor, and yes, pride," Obama captioned an Instagram photo of herself smiling at Biden and clapping. "I’m thrilled that the world will see what I have come to know—a brilliant woman who has distinguished herself in her profession and with the life she lives every day, always seeking to lift others up, rather than tearing them."
Emhoff said on Twitter that Jill Biden "earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit. She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country. This story would never have been written about a man."
Northwestern and its Department of English, where Epstein was a visiting lecturer for 30 years, denounced his views, noting they "firmly support academic freedom and freedom of expression" but do not agree that only those with an M.D. should hold the title of "doctor."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jill Biden reacts to Wall Street Journal op-ed: 'He called me kiddo'