- Valerie Biden Owens wanted to remove everything Trump “touched” from the Oval Office after he left.
- As Biden took office, she wrote, she took comfort in the fact JFK and Obama used the Resolute Desk
- In her new book, Owens wrote of the first few minutes she shared in the White House with her family.
Valerie Biden Owens said she wanted to remove everything that former President Donald Trump “touched” from the Oval Office after her brother, President Joe Biden, moved into the White House in January 2021, according to her new memoir.
In the book, “Growing Up Biden: A Memoir,” Owens spoke of the happiness she felt for her brother and first lady Jill Biden as they ascended the stairs to walk through the front doors to the White House Grand Foyer.
For a brief few seconds, the first couple was unable to enter through the door, but once inside, the family was taken by the history of the ornate building. Owen spoke of sharing the moments with her husband, John “Jack” Owens, and brother, James “Jimmy” Biden.
“I wanted a moment alone with my thoughts, so I stepped into one of the rooms in the family quarters. Soon, Jack and Jimmy joined me while the rest of the family was being given a tour,” she wrote in the book released April 12.
She continued: “Before we knew it, the three of us were walking down that famous colonnade and into the Oval Office.
Owens spoke of her admiration for the space while highlighting how Biden sought help with the redecorating from the historian Jon Meacham. Jimmy Biden selected the rugs, sofas, and decorations.
“He replaced Trump’s chosen portrait of President Andrew Jackson with one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and added busts of MLK, Cesar Chavez, RFK, Rosa Parks – all of which reflected Joe’s understanding and reverence for the soul of this nation. Already, the Oval Office had begun to look more like the United States, “she wrote.
She added: “We tried to get FDR’s Oval Office desk – I wanted everything Trump had touched out of there – but to this day, the desk resides at FDR’s family home in Hyde Park. … Thus, the desk Trump had sat behind remained.It was the Resolute desk – the same one used by Presidents [John F.] Kennedy and [Barack] Obama, so that was certainly good enough, and went a long way toward exorcising from my mind the repugnant image of its previous occupant. “
Owens then said she had another special moment with her two brothers – which now included a newly-inaugurated US president.
“Today, it was only the three of us – and it was Joe’s desk. We were silent. Words were unnecessary,” she wrote.
In the memoir, Owens spared few punches regarding her feelings about Trump and his governance of the country, calling him a “bully” and a “narcissistic, incompetent, and incomplete man.”
On November 7, 2020, when Biden and then-Vice President-elect Kamala Harris delivered victory speeches in Wilmington, Delaware, Owens spoke of the hope she felt for the weeks and months ahead.
“President Trump brought out the worst of our human tendencies, and the nation’s very soul had been battered by hatred, intolerance, and bigotry. That night, everyone craved healing. Joe radiated a bone-deep sense of understanding that comes from truly listening – in a word: empathy, “she wrote.
Biden Owens wrote that she was not surprised that Trump did not attend Biden’s inauguration.
“A small man does not rise to the occasion,” she wrote.
But she was grateful that other leaders from both parties were there. She recalled thanking former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura for coming, telling them, “It’s important.”
“President Bush, in his usual way, made a warm joke, something to the effect of ‘Where the hell else would I be?’ ‘She wrote.