Joe Biden's past tragedies 'give him empathy that Trump lacks'

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read

Watch: David Lammy says Joe Biden has empathy 'in spades – the opposite to Donald Trump'

  • Labour shadow minister David Lammy says Joe Biden has ‘empathy in spades’ – making president-elect ‘absolute opposite’ of Donald Trump

  • Lammy points to tragedies of Biden’s past as reason why ‘he cares’

  • He tells Yahoo UK’s White Wine Question Time podcast that election of Kamala Harris as vice-president is arguably ‘more important’ – ‘my daughter can dream dreams that weren’t possible before’

  • Visit the Yahoo homepage for more stories

Labour shadow minister David Lammy has said Joe Biden’s tragic past means the president-elect has “empathy in spades” – making him the “absolute opposite” of Donald Trump.

Lammy, speaking to Yahoo UK’s White Wine Question Time podcast, hailed Biden’s success over Trump in last week’s presidential election, saying: “He cares.”

In 1972, Biden’s first wife Neilia and their one-year-old daughter Naomi died in a car accident.

In 2015, Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer. He was 46.

WILMINGTON, DE - SEPTEMBER 13: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden departs St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church after attending Sunday service on September 13, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden's oldest son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who died of cancer in 2015; and Biden's first wife Neilia Biden and their daughter Naomi, who died in an automobile accident in 1972, are all buried in the church's cemetery. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Joe Biden pictured at the cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware, where his son Beau, first wife Neilia and daughter Naomi are all buried. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Read more: How Joe Biden’s family tragedy shaped his Washington career

Tottenham MP Lammy told host Kate Thornton of Biden, who he has met twice: “He is a personable, charming, empathetic kind of guy. He cares.

“Of course he cares. He’s a man who’s had massive tragedy in his life, more than most of us: losing his wife, daughter and son. Tragedy.

Listen: Full interview with David Lammy on White Wine Question Time

“You often find when people survive those sorts of things… leave to one side the intellect or whatever the politics is, but that empathy bit, that business to walk in other people’s shoes.

“He’s got that in spades – the absolute opposite to Donald Trump.”

Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy leaves the BBC Broadcasting House in central London after appearing on The Andrew Marr Show on 27 September 2020 in London, England. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Shadow justice secretary David Lammy. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Trump has also experienced family tragedy, losing his brother, Fred Jr, to alcoholism in 1981.

Last year, speaking about his brother’s death in an interview with the Washington Post, Trump made a rare admission of remorse, saying he regretted pressuring his brother over his career.

‘Biden condemned apartheid while UK was looking away’

Lammy recently posted this viral clip of Biden condemning apartheid in 1986.

Apartheid was a system of enforced racial segregation, privileging white people, in South Africa between 1948 and 1991.

Lammy said Biden was speaking out “at a time when people in our own country and others were looking in the other direction and not really seeing [Nelson] Mandela, many of the Black community in South Africa, for who they were: human beings.”

While hailing Biden’s politics, the MP argued the election of running mate Kamala Harris as vice-president was arguably “more important”.

US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris alongside US President-elect Joe Biden, delivers remarks at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 10, 2020. - President-elect Joe Biden said November 10, 2020 he had told several world leaders that "America is back" after his defeat of Donald Trump in last week's bitterly contested US election. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

In January, Harris will be the first female, and first Black and first Asian-American, to become vice-president.

Lammy said: “It makes me emotional because my daughter, my beautiful six-year-old daughter, can look at Kamala Harris – who looks like her – and dream dreams that weren’t possible before.

“So it’s a wonderful, wonderful silver lining on a very, very bitter [election campaign].”