“I don’t drink at all. I’ve never had a drink in my life, but I remember taking out a fifth of, I think it was gin, and put it on the kitchen table. But I couldn’t even make myself take a drink. What saved me was really my boys.”
While Christmas shopping in December 1972, Biden’s 30-year-old wife, Neilia, and 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car accident in Delaware. His sons, Hunter and Beau, were seriously injured. Biden, who had just been elected to the U.S. Senate, was in D.C. hiring staff.
Portions of the CNN interview were released on Monday ahead of the opening night of the Democratic National Convention. The first night will focus on unity, and keynote speaker Michelle Obama will portray Biden as an empathetic leader, shaped by personal loss, who can understand the struggles of Americans.
Biden also opened up on how he coped with the death of his son Beau, who died from brain cancer in 2015.
“Beau just made me promise, he said, ‘Dad, I‘m going to be OK, no matter what happens,‘“ Biden said. “This was just before he died. He said, ‘Dad, you got to promise me you‘re going to be OK.‘ He said, ‘Dad, look at me. Look me in the eye, Dad. Give me your word as a Biden, Dad, you’re going to be OK.‘”
Asked by Borger whether he was OK, Biden said yes.
“I am, because it is still emotional, but I knew what he meant,” Biden replied. “He was worried I‘d walk away from everything I worked in my whole life, the things I cared about. He knew I‘d take care of the family. He never wondered about that. But he didn‘t want me walking away, and I think what it‘s done, it‘s given me a purpose.“