President by saddening those who lost loved ones in a Joe Biden apartment building collapse decades ago, he caused a car crash claiming to be a member of his own family. As he explained his decision to withdraw the army from Afghanistan, he remembered his veteran son. When he spoke about the importance of education, he recalled the teachers who helped him overcome his childhood stuttering.
And when he met Queen Elizabeth after Vladimir Putin on a recent trip abroad, he couldn’t help but raise his mother together.
Individuals have always been Biden’s political presence. Much more than his recent predecessors, the president publicly uses his experience to connect with voters and reflect on his decisions. While many politicians make their career a central part of their political identity, Biden in particular tends to make a connection between his own life story and the day-to-day work of his presidency. There is.
And the strongest bonds are often the saddest.
Few public figures speak as loud as Biden, who lost his first wife and baby daughter in a car crash and later lost his adult son Bo to a brain tumor. During the first months of his tenure, he used this sympathy to comfort those who have lost loved ones, including more than 600,000 who died in the COVID-19 pandemic.
And recently, when I spent more than three hours in private with people who lost their loved ones in a building collapse in Surfside, Florida, and spoke to family-to-family people who are still missing in the rubble. , It was exhibited in a vivid way. Biden said he wanted to change places with his lost or missing loved one and lamented: “The wait, the wait, unbearable.”
“The people you may have lost – they will be with you for the rest of your life,” he told his family. “Part of your soul, part of who you are.”
Biden has a card that lists the total number of Americans who have died in the COVID-19 war and in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is known to quietly send notes to people, including lawmakers and journalists affected by cancer, referring to his family’s struggle with suffering.
“Okay, it’s a calculator, it’s crocodile tears, it’s what it turns on and off for the camera,” people say ironically. … It’s a complete Boulder Dash, ”said Dick Harpootlian, a Democratic adviser from South Carolina who had known and advised Biden for 40 years.
Halptrian said Biden expressed his condolences when his mother passed away. The congressman added, “Empathy is kind of a wrong word. That is to say, it is not strong enough. He just felt my loss.
“I found that I took the injured and lost loved ones seriously,” he continued.
Beau Biden, who died of a brain tumor in 2015, is very close to the president’s life.
He said his dying son had promised him to continue, and the day before he took office his “only regret” was tearfully telling the Delaware crowd that Bo was not there. talked. Biden made his first mark on Memorial Day weekend, as Commander-in-Chief, honoring the lost, remembering his son and praising the country’s sacrifice in a deep and personal way. It was.
“I know how painful the loss is,” Biden said.
The tent was overhead, but a cold wind blew rain down on the guests when they saw a military trumpeter tap dancing on a monument to the fallen army in Delaware. Biden stayed on for the 75-minute ceremony and spoke about the closing performance of “God Breath America”.
“For Joe Biden, that’s not what he does, it’s him,” said Anita Dunn, senior White House adviser. “He makes anyone who wants to talk to him talk to him not only in greetings, but also in conversations. He says how important these conversations are because of the tragedy in his life. I know there is. “
Biden uses more than sadness.
Last week, at an event in Illinois to promote the family part of a major infrastructure bill, he praised the benefits of child care, especially for single parents. He spoke of his own challenge as a single dad following a car crash that killed his first wife and daughter and injured his two grandchildren.
“I could not have done it without the help of my family, my sister, my best friend, my brother and my mother,” said the president. It was. “But not everyone has such support.”
Westwing staff and reporters also know that almost any event can be improved or avoided by walking along a memorable path. In Brussels, on his first trip abroad, Byden made a detour through his father’s job change and did not give any news of the Airbus-Boeing trade deal as expected.
At a recent educational event in Washington, Biden referred to both his second wife, First Lady Jill Biden, a teacher and educator who helped him deal with his child’s stuttering.
“They were in a mortal fear of taking a stuttering child who didn’t speak very well in school and being called out to read aloud,” Biden recalls.
“And they raised me, ‘Joey – you’re a very smart boy, Joey. Take your time. Joey, don’t get in the way, ”he told a group of teachers. “I’m serious. I think you underestimate beyond the teaching of reading, writing, addition and subtraction. You give confidence to many children.
Many presidents draw on their own lives to guide their policies: George W. Bush created a character as the owner of his hometown, the Texas Ranch. Bill Clinton often caused poverty in his family. Even Donald Trump told the story of a friend named Jim who felt it was dangerous to go to Paris to explain his own intransigent immigration policy.
But folk memorabilia include his predecessor, Trump, who lived in a skyscraper in Manhattan, who bears his name in gold-plated letters, and Barack Obama, who is sometimes cold-witted and constitutionally trained. Often gave Biden a more relevant identity than many of them and seemed to leave him isolated.
Biden’s approach has potential drawbacks. He risks suggesting to people that he cannot be identified with people who have different life experiences than his own. However, many observers believe their connection to life, which reflects the number of voters involved in the issue through their families and the prism of experience, to be genuine and politically effective. ..
‘From Monica’Joe from Scranton’ to horrific car crashes, to Bo’s fame and tragedy, to fool hunters, the president has a gentle tone and brings together most of his worldview from of his memories. “Masu,” Tobe Belkovitz said. , political advertising consultant and professor at Boston University College of Communication. “No president has a heart up his sleeve like Joe Biden.”
Jaffe reported from Washington.
For Biden, politics is often assembled by Afghanistan staff Jill Biden Bill Clinton Queen Elizabeth Wilmington
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