It may be hard to believe given all the chaos this election season, but both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are strict teetotalers.
Both candidates grew up in families touched by alcoholism, with Trump losing his eldest brother in 1981. Similarly, Biden was raised in a family of heavy drinkers, including his uncle “Boo-boo.”
As a child, Biden lived with Boo-boo, who had a stutter and was present in some of Biden’s most formative years. When asked why he doesn’t drink Biden said, “There are enough alcoholics in my family.”
According to the New York Times, Trump attributes his teetotalism to watching his brother Fred Trump struggle with alcoholism and later die from it. Gwenda Blair, a Trump biographer, also said the president realized he could get ahead in the real estate world by staying sober and was unnerved by how his casino lured gamblers in with free drinks.
“As they’re downing scotches, he’s downing Diet Cokes,” Blair said, going on to add, “It’s part of his ultra-competitive profile.”
Even with two-thirds of Americans consuming alcohol, according to the Times, and the majority of Washingtonians doing the same, Capitol Hill has seen a decline in consumption. Candidates, reporters, and campaign workers are drinking less, and many attribute this to the new non-stop demands of 24-hour campaigns.
In a city where alcohol has often had a place in decision making, socializing, and dinners held for world leaders, it’s interesting to see this move towards a dry Whitehouse. Some note the cultural shift in Congress as well, where strict partisanship has essentially abolished cross-party socializing.