If you happened to be watching Fox News this week, you’d think that the number one threat to our republic is Biden. Not Joe Biden, but Hunter Biden, his 49-year-old lawyer son.
Hunter has certainly been on a roll as of late. First, he split from his girlfriend, Hallie Biden, who happens to be his late brother Beau’s widow. Then, on May 16, he secretly married someone whom he had reportedly met 10 days earlier. Then, just when we thought Hunter and his new bride would ride off into the sunset, there he was again. This time, Hunter had been slapped with a paternity lawsuit by an Arkansas woman, alleging that he had fathered her 10-month-old baby, presumably while he was still dating Hallie. If that wasn’t enough, this week brought the news that the Arkansas woman had reportedly just gotten engaged right before she filed the paternity lawsuit.
If Joe Biden wasn’t running for president in 2020, the narrative surrounding Hunter’s personal life would barely register. But, given that the elder Biden is the leading Democrat in the polls, the right-leaning media has unhinged its jaws and devoured the scandal whole, as if it were a shiny new Hillary Clinton email server. “This guy is finished,” Rush Limbaugh said of Joe Biden’s campaign last week. “Biden’s Campaign Facing Possible Fallout From Son’s Messy Personal Life, Business Deals,” read a headline on FoxNews.com.
In reality nobody should be surprised by any of this. The wild antics of Hunter Biden fit into the rich American tradition of embarrassing political relatives, a cavalcade of power-adjacent men behaving badly. Remember Bill Clinton’s half brother Roger, a struggling singer who was convicted of cocaine possession? How about Hillary Clinton’s siblings, Hugh and Tony Rodham? In the late ‘90s they caused an international incident after attempting to corner the hazelnut market in the Republic of Georgia and, in so doing, got a little too cozy with a political foe of its president? And who among us could forget hard-partying Billy Carter, known for his history of public urination and for receiving a $220,000 loan from the Libyan government? Richard Nixon was so concerned about his brother Donald’s inclination toward corruption that he had his phone tapped. For 2020, Hunter Biden has emerged as the new standard-bearer for family drama, but this time with a twist: in contrast to his predecessors, Hunter has the dubious distinction of being the candidate’s offspring—a large adult son as opposed to a rogue sibling.
And it’s not even the first time Hunter Biden has engaged in these types of shenanigans. According to a court filing from his 2017 divorce from his first wife, Kathleen, Hunter spent lavishly on prostitutes and strip clubs to the detriment of his family’s finances. There was the time in 2015 when his name popped up on a leaked list of users of Ashley Madison, a dating website for married people, where the account with his name reportedly registered as an “attached male” seeking “anything goes.” In 2014, Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve after he tested positive for cocaine. Shortly thereafter, he joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company whose owner was under investigation by a prosecutor who then-Vice President Joe Biden would eventually pressure the country’s parliament into firing. The optics of the situation were not great, and provided even more red meat for the Republicans, with Rudy Giuliani planning a trip to Ukraine to reportedly get to the bottom of the Hunter Biden story. (Giuliani canceled the trip last month amid accusations that he was seeking foreign assistance in the election, but that hasn’t stopped him from ranting about the trumped-up conspiracy. “It’s a case that is crying out to be investigated,” Giuliani told Sean Hannity last month.)