President Joe Biden’s Hunter Biden Dilemma Gets Worse

Image source, Getty Images

  • Author, Anthony Zürcher
  • Role, North America Correspondent
  • Report of Washington

As jury selection in Hunter Biden’s gun possession trial began Monday, his father released a statement illustrating the fine line he is trying to walk amid his re-election campaign.

“I’m president, but I’m also a dad,” Joe Biden said.

His statement went on to express support for his son, who could face up to 25 years in prison for allegedly lying about his drug addiction while filling out background paperwork for a 2018 handgun purchase.

“As president, I will not and will not comment on current federal matters,” he continued. “But as a father, I have boundless love for my son, trust in him and respect for his strength.”

Biden Hunter’s struggles with drug addiction are common knowledge at this point. He discussed them publicly and wrote about them in his memoirs – revelations that would soon serve as evidence in his trial and fodder for public consumption.

Joe Biden has already spoken publicly about his son’s tumultuous personal life. During the first presidential debate with Donald Trump in 2020, he said he was “proud” of his only surviving son.

“My son, like many people you know at home, had a drug problem,” he said. “He passed it. He fixed it. He worked on it.

Four years ago, President Biden responded to Trump’s attacks on the debate stage. Today, however, her statement could be an attempt to defuse what is shaping up to be a politically tense moment, where her son’s troubled past — and, by extension, that of the entire Biden family — will be on full display.

Hunter Biden’s ex-wife Kathleen Buhle is expected to testify about her estranged husband’s drug addiction. Hallie Biden, the widow of Hunter Biden’s brother Beau – with whom Hunter would later be romantically involved and who threw the handgun in question in a Delaware trash can – is also on the prosecution’s witness list .

“It’s definitely not a good overview,” says Kate Andersen Brower, who has written several books about U.S. presidents, their families and first ladies. She says presidents have had to deal with family turmoil in the past. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, for example, faced embarrassing situations between siblings.

However, the fact that a president’s child is facing a criminal trial is entirely unprecedented, and it leaves the elder Biden on a tightrope.

He spent time with his son in Delaware over the weekend and stayed in Wilmington – where the trial will take place – on Sunday evening. During jury selection Monday, the Biden family was well represented.

But the president had already returned to Washington. While he has affirmed his support for his son, he also keeps his distance from the affair itself.

Image source, Getty Images

But First Lady Jill Biden was there and seated behind Hunter. The two kissed during a morning break in the court proceedings and again after the day ended. She was joined by Hunter’s current wife, Melissa Cohen Biden — who held his hand as he walked out of court — and his half-sister, Ashley Biden, and her husband.

Jill Biden married the president after his first wife, Hunter Biden’s mother, died in a 1972 car accident in which Hunter and Beau were injured. The accident also claimed the life of their little sister, Naomi.

The president regularly speaks of the closeness of his family – and has made that dedication a part of his political identity.

He talks about how he took the train home from Washington to Delaware every evening as a U.S. senator so he could say goodnight to his children. He wrote a book about coping with grief following Beau Biden’s death from brain cancer in 2016 and opened up about the emotional trauma he experienced following the death of his first wife.

Now, the most sordid aspects of the Biden family’s history will be exposed to the public, such as text messages between Hunter Biden and his family – including intimate communication with Beau’s widow.

There will also be photographs and other details of Hunter Biden’s crack cocaine use. Some of this information was likely extracted from a laptop, the existence and contents of which became a controversial topic in the final days of the 2020 presidential election.

The Hunter Biden trial follows one of the biggest stories of the 2024 presidential election so far: Trump’s conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records. Even though the two cases are significantly different – ​​charges against a candidate versus a candidate’s son – the pace of the two trials will inevitably lead to comparisons.

Image source, Getty Images

Legend, Trump in court

At the very least, the focus on the Biden family drama and Hunter Biden’s legal troubles will draw media attention away from Trump. And the legal issues surrounding his son could make Mr. Biden more reluctant to address Trump’s criminal conviction.

It could also provide a significant distraction for the president as he approaches the final campaign of his political career.

“It’s going to be very difficult on a personal level for Biden,” Brower says. “He has a history of trying to separate his personal life from his public life, but he is his only living son. This must be very trying.

There is another difference between Hunter Biden’s legal drama and Trump’s. The former president’s three other criminal cases likely won’t proceed until after the November election.

However, Hunter Biden is also indicted on federal tax charges, with his trial scheduled for September.

The case, which involves alleged nonpayment of at least $1.4 million in taxes over four years, could be more politically damaging to the president, given that it involves financial crimes rather than criminal linked to his drug addiction.

“It’s a lot harder to make excuses for tax evasion,” Bower says.

If Hunter Biden is convicted in either federal trial, his father has the presidential authority to grant him clemency.

Such a move would have been politically toxic in the past, but Trump has exercised his power to pardon many of the controversial figures who worked for him and appears to have paid little price for it.

While it’s an action Joe Biden, the father, might find appealing — he insisted his son was innocent — the White House insisted it was not being considered.

Learn more about the US elections

Leave a Comment