Joe Biden emotionally reflected on the loss of his son Beau on Wednesday, connecting the death of his oldest son to brain cancer to the loss that Anthony Thompson experienced when his wife was killed in the 2015 Charleston church shooting.
The answer showcased Biden’s ability to connect with voters emotionally and the depth that he feels the loss of his son.
“I kind of know what it's like to lose family. And my heart goes out to you,” Biden said with tears in his eyes.
Biden recalled how he came back to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the shooting that killed nine people in 2015, the Sunday after the shooting “because I had just lost my son and I wanted some hope.”
“What you all did was astounding,” Biden said. “All of those who died, were killed by this white supremacist, they forgave him. They forgave him. The ultimate act of Christian charity. They forgave him.”
Biden’s life has been struck with tragedy repeatedly. Biden’s son died in 2015 and his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972.
“I don't know how you've dealt with it, reverend, but the way I've been able to deal with when my wife was killed and my daughter was killed and my son died, I've only been able to deal with it by realizing they're part of my being,” Biden said. “My son, beau, was my soul.”
Biden has said his late son urged him to run before his death.
“Every day I get up, I literally… I ask myself, I hope he's proud of me today,” Biden concluded.
Watch the exchange: