President Joe Biden, who reportedly had a decades-long history of paying female staffers less than their male counterparts while in the Senate, caused a stir on Twitter Tuesday when he tweeted out a handwritten letter from a little girl named “Charlotte” calling on him to close the gender pay gap.
“Charlotte, I couldn’t agree more,” Biden tweeted. “Women lose thousands of dollars each year, and hundreds of thousands over a lifetime, because of gender and racial wage gaps. I’m committed to building an economy where my daughters have the same rights and opportunities as my sons.”
Biden then posted a picture of the letter to mark Equal Pay Day, a symbolic day first observed by the National Committee on Pay Equity in the 1990s.
Twitter users seemed to be amused by the tweet, with many questioning its validity and suggesting Charlotte change her gender identity.
“Yes, a 4-year-old girl named Charlotte is writing the president letters about her concern with the ‘gender pay gap,'” wrote Collin Rugg, co-owner of Trending Politics. “‘Alex, I’ll take stuff that never happened for $800.'”
“Sooo, they have staff writing fake notes from children to Biden now…lol,” added Tim Young, a comedian and editor of the National Mouth.
One user joked the author was none other than Vice President Kamala Harris.
Others suggested that maybe Biden himself wrote the note.
“You stayed in the lines perfect Biden! Great Job!” quipped mixed martial artist Nik Lentz.
Some Twitter users noted that Charlotte can circumvent the problem altogether by not remaining a female.
“Just tell Charlotte to become non-binary. Problem solved,” tweeted Kimberly Klacik, a Republican activist and radio host who ran for Congress in Maryland in 2020.
However, some tweeted that if Charlotte continues to identify as a girl, she’ll likely be competing against transgender athletes thanks to Biden’s policies on gender identity.
“Poor Charlotte will be competing against men in any sports she decides to join or her parents put her in thanks to Biden. Let’s hope she doesn’t end up with a concussion,” wrote journalist Caleb Parke, who added that the gender pay gap “Won’t matter if we’re in WWIII or the economy keeps tanking.”
Many Twitter users echoed the latter point, arguing Biden has more immediate issues to be tackled.
“This is fake. Anyways… back to our deteriorating banking system and environmental crisis in East Palestine, Ohio,” wrote journalist Matt Vespa.
Some Twitter users asked whether Biden himself has paid the men and women who work for him even. According to a 2019 analysis by the Washington Free Beacon, the answer is no.
The Free Beacon analyzed spending reports disclosed in the biannual report of the secretary of the Senate and found women working for Biden were paid less than their male counterparts during the entirety of Biden’s time in the Senate from January 1973 to January 2009.
A few people on Twitter flagged the Free Beacon report, including Abigail Marone, the communications director for Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
Biden never achieved gender pay equity, according to the report, which concluded women on average earned just 67 cents for each dollar earned by men.
The closest Biden came to achieving gender pay equity was in early 2002, when female staffers earned 98% of the money made by their male counterparts, the report continued. But that wasn’t the norm.
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During Biden’s final months as a senator in 2008, women in his office earned 66% of what men did—a gap 11 percent points larger than the 2008 national average, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity.
Women working for Biden earned less than 50% of what men made in 11 of the six-month periods analyzed by the Free Beacon, and women made as little as 44% of what Biden’s male employees made in 1983 and 1984.
The Free Beacon noted that, while the national gender pay gap hasn’t dropped below 57% since Biden entered the Senate in 1973, Biden paid women less than 57 cents on the dollar in 22 sixth-month periods, citing public records.
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The White House, which on Tuesday touted the Biden administration’s efforts to achieve equal pay, didn’t respond to a request for comment for this story.