New Dumb Biden ‘Scandal’: Hunter Wrote A Book, With Words
It's been a couple weeks since President Joe Biden wore a fancy watch in public. What's the next big scandal that will rock his administration? You might recall the president has a son, Hunter, and he's written a book.
Journalist Judd Legum, with whom we often if not usually agree, tweeted the following this weekend.
"Hunter Biden should not be publishing a book and his dad, who is now president, should not be endorsing it."
The president didn't “endorse" his son's book, which is about his struggles with addiction. He said, during a "60 Minutes" interview, that he was proud of his son. That's not a shocking admission from someone who didn't subject the world to Donald Trump Jr.
Legum compares Biden to Donald Trump Jr., which is goddamn annoying.
"Don Jr wrote two books while Trump was president (which Trump promoted) and that also should not have happened."
The one-term loser did far more than simply express how pleasantly surprised he was by his son's apparent literacy. The Republican National Committee gave away signed copies of Trump Jr.'s book, Triggered, to donors who needed their wobbly tables steadied.
Ronald Reagan's daughter Patti Davis wrote two books during his presidency. Richard Nixon's daughter Julie was assistant managing editor of the Saturday Evening Post for his entire presidency. Hunter Biden's involvement in publishing is neither unprecedented nor scandalous.
However, Legum appealed to authority, which is what people do when their arguments are for crap. He later tweeted that Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics, agreed with him. Great, they can record the moving duet, “We're Both Wrong."
Shaub wonders, “Would anyone be publishing this book if he wasn't the president's son?" The book deal was made in 2019, so: yes! Also, literally thousands of books are published about personal struggles with addiction. This isn't like Ivanka Trump's “self-help" book, Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success, which was released in 2017. Hunter Biden actually has a compelling story to tell: He lost his mother and younger sister in a car accident when he was two years old. He grew up in the shadow of his father and older brother. Alcohol and drug abuse almost cost him everything.
Oh, and the previous thing that squatted in the White House tried to personally destroy Hunter Biden for political gain. It was in all the papers. Republicans loved to shout, “Where's Hunter?" Here he is, writing his memoirs. Joe Biden didn't spend his campaign trying to make Hunter Biden a household name. That was the other guy.
The one-term loser's niece, Mary Trump, wrote a bestseller that Shaub could more accurately claim was only published because of her relationship to the insurrectionist-in-chief. She had every right to publish the book and nail her uncle's sorry ass.
I've seen it argued that “no direct family member or even family member should be able to profit from their family inhabiting the White House." This rule is both absurd and never previously enforced. Does anyone think people would've willingly entered into business deals with George W. Bush if his father hadn't been president at the time? The guy was like Billy Madison.
Trump Jr.'s books were partisan hackery that directly advanced his father's political interests. It was also the least objectionable offense he committed over the past five years. Hunter Biden probably won't interview President Biden for his podcast because he's desperate for attention from Daddy. But even Trump Jr., as loathsome as he is and as much as we'd love to never hear him talk ever again, didn't give up his First Amendment rights to "books" when his father was elected.
Shaub and Legum don't mention how Trump Jr. and his brother Eric ran his father's company while simultaneously campaigning for his father. The Trump Organization even charged the Secret Service for rooms. We've documented the many ways this family of grifters profited off the presidency. Hunter Biden wrote a book about his own life. It's still legally his. He didn't sell the rights to someone for a boilermaker.
Ivanka Trump and her dumber husband, Jared Kushner, got around the nepotism statute by not accepting a salary for whatever it was they did. However, access to power is worth a lot more than a piddly government salary. The New York Times didn't go all Hillary's emails on Ivanka and Kushner's blatant corruption. They just stopped talking about it after a while.
The lesson future (Republican) administrations will learn is that the media and supposedly serious thinkers will normalize unprecedented corruption by fixating on the smallest issues in otherwise honest (Democratic) administrations. This insistence on a perceived “fairness" only succeeds in promoting false equivalencies that only benefits families like the Trumps.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."