Aside from his stint as vice president, the average American likely knows Joe Biden because of the intense personal tragedies he’s faced over the years, from the death of his wife and daughter in a horrific car accident in the early 1970s to the early death of his son Beau from brain cancer.
One figure in the Biden family who traditionally hasn’t been mentioned much, however, is Biden’s 49-year-old son Hunter. That’s changed in the last several years; not only has Hunter become a target of the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump due to his ties in Ukraine, but he’s also stepped in it about a million times. Recently, he was named in a paternity suit filed by a woman in Arkansas, and that’s after he started dating his brother’s widow and was accused by his own ex-wife of exorbitant spending and substance abuse.
The New Yorker has a feature out on Hunter and the unwitting role he could play in his father’s presidential campaign, and it’s got some new, sort of ridiculous details. Like this, emphasis mine:
After a week at Grace Grove, Hunter checked into a resort spa called Mii Amo, and called Hallie, who flew to meet him. During her stay, Hunter said, they decided to become a couple. When they returned to Delaware, they tried, unsuccessfully, to keep their relationship secret.
The first that Biden heard of the relationship was when the Post asked his office for comment. Hunter issued a statement saying that he and Hallie were “incredibly lucky to have found the love and support we have for each other in such a difficult time.” Hunter told me he appealed to his father to make a statement, too: “I said, ‘Dad, Dad, you have to.’ He said, ‘Hunter, I don’t know if I should. But I’ll do whatever you want me to do.’ I said, ‘Dad, if people find out, but they think you’re not approving of this, it makes it seem wrong. The kids have to know, Dad, that there’s nothing wrong with this, and the one person who can tell them that is you.’ ” A former Biden aide confirmed that Biden agreed to issue a statement because of concerns about Hunter’s well-being. Biden told the Post, “We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness. . . . They have mine and Jill’s full and complete support and we are happy for them.” The Post ran the statement under the headline “beau biden’s widow having affair with his married brother.”
That’s right: Joe Biden found out his son was dating his deceased son’s widow because of the New York Post.
More tangible to the presidential campaign, the New Yorker describes an insane “informal arrangement” between Hunter, a lobbyist, and his father, a politician, to basically not talk about any of that shit. Emphasis mine:
Versage told me that the National Group had a strict rule: “Hunter didn’t do anything that involved his dad, didn’t do anything that involved any help from his dad.” Oldaker advised Hunter to restrict his clients to mostly Jesuit universities. “He wasn’t doing McDonnell Douglas or something,” Oldaker told me. Still, Hunter’s name appeared regularly in newspaper stories decrying the cozy relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers. An informal arrangement was established: Biden wouldn’t ask Hunter about his lobbying clients, and Hunter wouldn’t tell his father about them. “It wasn’t like we all sat down and agreed on it,” Hunter told me. “It came naturally.”
One example of why this is bad and stupid came in late 2013, when Hunter helped arrange a brief meeting and handshake between his father and one of Hunter’s business partners, Jonathan Li. But rather shockingly, apparently no one brought up that this might look bad to the vice president, because everyone was too scared:
When I asked members of Biden’s staff whether they discussed their concerns with the Vice-President, several of them said that they had been too intimidated to do so. “Everyone who works for him has been screamed at,” a former adviser told me. Others said that they were wary of hurting his feelings. One business associate told me that Biden, during difficult conversations about his family, “got deeply melancholy, which, to me, is more painful than if someone yelled and screamed at me. It’s like you’ve hurt him terribly. That was always my fear, that I would be really touching a very fragile part of him.”
Does all of this remind you of anyone? (I’m not just talking about Amy Klobuchar, either.)
Biden’s camp declined to comment to the magazine.
The whole story is a wild one, and really sheds a lot of light on a character in the Biden saga who only promises to become more prominent if his father’s campaign maintains its strength. You can read the New Yorker story here.