In the dark, shell-shocked days following Donald Trump’s election victory last November, a certain corner of the internet provided a small source of light: the Obama-Biden memes.
For a time, it was impossible to go anywhere on social media without being confronted with a photo of the outgoing President Obama and his Vice President, Joe Biden, accompanied by a caption imagining their conversation.
The memes were an unmistakeable pop culture phenomenon. The jokey subtitles often drew on the well-known friendship between the two men, which had always seemed – rather unusually, in Politics Land – genuinely sincere and affectionate. (On Obama’s 55th birthday in August 2016, the real-life Biden tweeted a photo of a friendship bracelet bearing the two men’s names.)
They also chimed with Obama and Biden’s respective public images: the sober, sensible president and his impulsive, impish VP. At a time when many people wanted nothing more than for someone, anyone, to stop Trump entering the White House, the Obama-Biden memes were more than just a source of bittersweet hilarity; they were cathartic.
The fictional Joe Biden was devastated by the end of the Obama era, furious at Trump’s victory and constantly dreaming up new and increasingly ridiculous ways of thwarting him and pranking his allies. The fictional Joe Biden, in other words, was us.
Now, Biden’s daughter has revealed the former vice-president’s favourite meme – and it’s one of our favourites, too.
Speaking to lifestyle and finances site Moneyish, Ashley Biden says that when her 74-year-old father first learned about the viral memes featuring himself and Obama, he “sat there for an hour and laughed”.
After perusing several, he decided that the one he liked best was an image of him hugging Obama – and trying to persuade him to leave Michelle.
While the meme version of Joe Biden might have been devoted to trying to topple a Trump presidency, the real-life Biden is taking a more hands-off approach. At a press conference this week, Biden said that he believed Trump deserved to be given a chance to govern.
“Sure he does,” said Biden. He added that he believes the transition to the Trump administration has been shaky because of Trump never expected to win the election.
“He’s really playing catch-up,” he said. “He should be given a chance. It’s too early to judge.”
Main image: Rex Features