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Who is Dominic Giacoppa's daughter? Biden's St Patrick's Day joke explained

Olivia Olphin March 18, 2022
President And Mrs Biden Hold St Patrick's Day Event At The White House
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

On St Patrick’s Day 2022, US president Joe Biden addressed his Irish heritage and his wife’s Italian heritage during his speech at the Annual Friends Of Ireland Luncheon. A clip of his speech has gone viral on social media.

Joe Biden said he was married to Dominic Giacoppa’s daughter. But who is Dominic Giacoppa, and is Jill Biden his daughter?

We take a closer look at the meaning of his remarks.

What did Joe Biden say on St Patrick’s Day?

Joe Biden attended the Annual Friends Of Ireland Luncheon on 17 March 2022. He opened his speech with a joke about wife Jill Biden and his Irish heritage:

“Father, before I begin – bless me, Father, for I’m about to sin. Well, I just want you to know, I may be Irish but I’m not stupid. I married Dominic Giacoppa’s daughter.”

While some have taken this comment as being offensive to Irish people, the purpose of Joe Biden’s speech, and the luncheon, were to promote a strong relationship between the nations.

Joe Biden’s great-great-grandfather was from County Mayo, Ireland. Later on in his speech the US president also referred to his Irish heritage:

“Like so many Americans of Irish heritage, I love Ireland and I was raised in a circumstance where you would have thought my whole family… lived in Ireland the last 60 years.”

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Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Who is Dominic Giacoppa’s daughter?

Jill Biden’s father was Donald C Jacobs, a bank teller and US Navy signalman during the Second World War. While Jill Biden’s maiden name is Jacobs, her original family name was Giacoppa, or Giacoppo. The surname was Americanised by her ancestor, Gaetano Giacoppa, when he started his new life in the US.

It appears Dominic Giacoppa could be a re-Italianisation of her father’s name, his Sicilian name. The US president made the same joke at an opera ball in 2013.

Jill Biden comes from strong Italian roots. Her family originates from Gesso, a small village in Sicily with a population of about 1,000.

Jill Biden is the first Italian-American First Lady of the United States and has often talked about how her heritage has inspired her.

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Olivia Olphin is an English Literature graduate and a film and literature fanatic. She has many years of reviewing experience, recently working as accredited press for the London Film Festival. She has also written widely about culture and sex education, as well as LGBTQ+ and women's issues.