President Joe Biden is turning 80 this weekend, but the big bash at the White House is for an entirely different and more youthful occasion. Naomi Biden, Biden’s oldest granddaughter, married Peter Neal on the White House South Lawn on Saturday.
One day following the nuptials, Biden will mark his spot in American history as the only octogenarian president, a numerical milestone that shines a spotlight on a primary issue plaguing Biden with his opponents: his age. Despite a spate of recent wins – better-than-projected midterm elections for Democrats, a relatively gaffe-less trip to Egypt and Asia, and a lackluster presidential announcement from his old rival, Donald Trump – Biden cannot shake being the oldest commander-in-chief America has ever had.
But a glossy wedding of two twenty-somethings, kicking off a fresh life chapter with music and dancing and revelry, could put a youthful spin on the 80th birthday weekend. Two people familiar with the planning of the wedding say it was not a coincidence Naomi Biden’s wedding weekend coincides with the president’s day – noting the “age issue” is never something Biden wants to highlight.
“The wedding gives some cover,” says one of the people.
The wedding, which CNN is told includes the extended Biden clan on the guest list, as well as friends and family of the couple, also marks a kickoff of sorts for the tight-knit Bidens to begin earnest discussions over whether Joe Biden should run for a second term.
Shortly after the wedding, Jill Biden and Joe Biden will travel to Nantucket, Massachusetts, for the Thanksgiving holiday; Christmas follows quickly on its heels, as the clock ticks toward Biden’s need to say whether he will be in for 2024, or out. Both the president and the first lady have said they will weigh the pros and cons of a second run, something Biden has previously said he “intends” to undertake.
The wedding itself consists of three parts, a person familiar with the planning told CNN. The ceremony, which was set to begin at approximately 11:15 am ET and ended at 11:50 am, took place on the South Lawn – a location that hadn’t previously been used for a White House wedding. There was no tent, the source had confirmed earlier, which made for a chilly outdoor morning, with the temperature at 39 degrees. Guests arrived early Saturday morning to the White House complex, where they were all administered Covid-19 tests, two people familiar told CNN. They were given blankets and shawls at their seats to keep warm.
According to two people familiar with the wedding details, the bride’s parents, Hunter Biden and Kathleen Buhle, walked her down the aisle. As Naomi Biden walked down the aisle, the band played “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve. The bride wore a long-sleeved gown with a veil and train, designed by Ralph Lauren, the same sources said.
Joe Biden escorted Neal’s two grandmothers – Paulita Neal and Betty…