President Joe Biden welcomed guests to the White House on Saturday for the wedding of his granddaughter Naomi, an unprecedented attendance of about 250 guests. The 28-year-old Washington lawyer married 25-year-old law graduate Peter Neal on the mansion’s south lawn.
“It has been such a joy to watch Naomi grow up, discover who she is, and create an amazing life for herself,” President and First Lady Jill Biden said in a statement. “We are now proud that she has chosen Peter as her husband and are honored to welcome him into our family,” they added. “We wish them days filled with laughter and a love that grows deeper with each passing year.” Naomi Biden is the eldest daughter of Hunter, the president’s son.
It is not unheard of for the Presidential Palace to be decorated for a wedding. The White House Historical Society says the mansion has hosted 18 weddings, including Richard Nixon’s daughter Tricia in 1971 and Barack Obama’s official photographer Pete Sosa in 2013.
In 2008 George W. The association says it has hosted four White House receptions for weddings elsewhere, such as the weddings of Bush’s daughter Jenna. But this is the first time that the granddaughter of the President is getting married at the venue.
The White House, in its brief statement, said Biden hosted a family wedding luncheon and wedding reception in the state dining room, followed by a party at a private event, which drew criticism. “The White House press has covered weddings there throughout history because the place belongs to the American people and the appearance of a president is an event of national interest,” said Kelly O’Donnell, the NBC reporter expected to be the next president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Biden is very close to his grandchildren, who call him Bob and are often seen with him, including at some official events.
Naomi is named after the president’s first daughter, who died as a child in a car accident in 1972 that also claimed the life of his first wife.
The US press has claimed that Naomi Biden plays a key role in the president’s inner circle, and has pressured him to run for president in 2020, for example.