This election could be different. In a September NBC News poll, 60% of respondents said they had major (45%) or moderate (15%) concerns about Biden’s possible knowledge or involvement in his son’s business dealings, including allegations of financial wrongdoing and corruption.
The long recovery
Hunter Biden’s last words to his brother in 2015 were the same as the first he heard from him 42 years earlier. And after his illness and death, he “completely fell apart,” as he told Moby.
“It’s not an excuse, but it’s the reason,” he said.
But Beau Biden’s death only reignited addiction issues that Hunter Biden had previously faced. In his 2021 memoir, Hunter said he felt the unresolved trauma he and his brother faced after the 1972 accident “manifested itself differently in each of us,” for the rest of their lives.
Blaming him for his own struggles with drug addiction would be a “cope,” he wrote, but he later added that it took him decades “to recognize that original loss, to face that original trauma, to recognize this original pain.”
Reflecting on grief recently in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Joe Biden said that as difficult as losing Beau was for him, it “was even deeper for Hunter” and his daughter, Ashley.
“It made me a little more fatalistic. It also caused me and Jill a lot of pain because he should be the one sitting there talking to you, Beau. He was a better man than me, just like Hunter,” Joe Biden said.
Hunter, in his book, wrote that he and his father initially “managed our grief in ways that were often inconsistent with caring.” His father immersed himself in his work, serving as vice president and then preparing for his 2020 campaign, but ultimately the attacks on him during that campaign helped bring them closer together again.
“Every time I apologized to him for putting so much heat on his campaign, he responded by saying how sorry he was for embarrassing me, for putting so much heat on me, especially at a time when I was so determined to get well,” he wrote. “This is the biggest political debate my father and I have had in months: who should apologize to whom?”
Ambassador of grief
The president has often spoken about how the 1972 accident nearly led him to leave the Senate before he even took office, saying after taking the oath of office in his sons’ hospital room that if there was a conflict between being a good father and a good senator, he would choose the former.
A career full of personal trials has also led Biden to say, as he often did before announcing his intention to seek a second term, that he is a “great respect for destiny. This too helped him not only does he build personal relationships across the aisle, but he is also the source of what Biden aides have long called his “superpower,” his empathy.
Just moments after Hunter Biden delivered his statement at the Capitol on Wednesday, Joe Biden held his first in-person meeting with family members of hostages held by Hamas terrorists.
During the two-hour meeting, which began in the East Wing and included a tour of the Oval Office, Biden shared his own story of loss, speaking specifically with families about the upcoming anniversary of the 1972 crash, according to several participants.
“He described receiving the worst call a parent could receive, that his wife and three children had been in a car accident just before Christmas,” said Yael Alexander, the mother of American hostage Edan Alexander, 19 years old, at NBC News. “There is no doubt that he understands the desire I feel as a mother to have my son home with me during the holidays, and the urgency with which we need a deal to bring the hostages at home now. »
A hostage parent would later say he was able to remain calm during the emotional session until the president himself burst into tears.