Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed during a virtual round table discussion Wednesday that he became a “professor” after he left the U.S. Senate in 2009.
“When I left the United States Senate, I became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania,” Biden claimed. “I’ve spent a lot of time — and the University of Delaware has the Biden School as well, so I’ve spent a lot of time on campus with college students.”
Biden here repeats the claim that he “became a professor” after leaving the White House.
The University of Pennsylvania gave him an honorary professorship. He never taught a class, and students/staff at the time were confused about his role.
— Anders Hagstrom (@Hagstrom_Anders) March 25, 2020
Biden, of course, left the Senate to become vice president after he was chosen as former President Barack Obama’s running mate in the 2008 presidential race.
The presumptive Democratic nominee for 2020 made no mention of his time as vice president.
Biden did receive the honorary title of “Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor” from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017, but he never taught any classes, according to Fox.
In fact, it is unclear if Biden ever played any substantial role at Penn.
The Daily Pennsylvanian wrote in February 2017, “No one is really sure what Joe Biden will be doing at Penn,” in a piece written weeks after Biden was announced as a professor.
The paper wrote that nearly a month after he was announced, “administrators, professors and politically minded students alike are still confused about the nature of his role at the University.”
The Daily Pennsylvanian also quoted Biden spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield as saying that her boss would not be teaching classes.
Bedingfield is now communications director for the Biden campaign.
Biden’s role at the school became clearer by July 2017, when Philadelphia magazine wrote that he earned substantial sums from the school for speaking.
According to the magazine, Biden was paid $776,527 by Penn over a two-year period — well more than the $214,000 average annual salary for full professors.
“[I]it sounds to us like Biden’s professorship is really more of speaking residency,” Philadelphia staff writer Dave Murell wrote. “He’s been on campus so infrequently that it becomes news when he actually is there.”
In the same period Biden earned more than $775,000 from Penn, he brought in $15.6 million in total, The Wall Street Journal reported after going through the former vice president’s financial disclosures.
Wednesday’s statement about being a professor was not the first time Biden has made the claim that he pursued teaching.
“When I got out of the United States Senate instead of taking a Wall Street job … I became a teacher, I became a professor,” Biden said on Feb 28.
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