US President’s Presidential Run Exposes Family Turmoil and Personal Failings

U.S. President Joe Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden. Credit | Getty images

United States: The recent courtroom disclosures about the upheavals within Joe Biden’s family have left some of his confidants questioning whether his presidential candidacy was the right choice.

Why It Matters

The ferocity of modern-day politics has torn through the Biden household since his re-emergence in 2019, turning his momentous presidency into a parallel family saga.

When Biden announced his bid for the presidency in 2019, his family was already grappling with addiction, bereavement, and drama of soap opera proportions, as underscored by the legal predicaments involving his son Hunter and daughter Ashley, as per AXIOS.

Impact on the President

Aides are aware they must tread carefully around him when the news involves his family, as he is often irate or preoccupied due to the legal and political onslaughts against them, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The family’s tribulations—alongside the lingering sorrow over his son Beau’s death in 2015—manifest as tears and a profound, “impenetrable sadness,” as described by someone close to Biden.

Biden’s Inner Circle

These challenges have compelled Biden to lean more heavily on his long-time associates, forming a protective inner circle around him.

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Biden launched his 2020 campaign amid his adult children’s struggles with drug addiction.

Hunter was still ensnared in a cycle of crack cocaine and alcohol addiction when he departed DC for California around the time his father announced his presidential run on April 25, 2019. This was revealed in bank records presented at Hunter’s recent trial, where he was found guilty of three gun-related felonies.

Biden’s daughter, Ashley, was in outpatient rehab in Florida and experiencing occasional relapses in the first half of 2019, according to her recovery journal, which was later stolen and leaked to a right-wing media outlet. (Ashley recently confirmed the diary’s authenticity during a trial where a woman who sold the diary was convicted), as mentioned by AXIOS.

Meanwhile, Beau’s widow, Hallie Biden, had only recently overcome her crack cocaine addiction—introduced to her by Hunter during their turbulent romantic involvement, as revealed in testimony and court documents.

Hallie also testified that during her relationship with Hunter, her two school-age children endured a period when both adults in the home were addicts, and the children sometimes found crack paraphernalia.

The “What If?” Questions

Hunter’s trial in Delaware raised many “what if?” questions among some Biden aides. Among them: What if Joe Biden had not pursued the presidency amid his family’s chaos?

Ashley’s rehab journal likely wouldn’t have been stolen and published online.

Hunter and the family’s emails, texts, and photos probably wouldn’t have been splashed across the internet and tabloids.

A special counsel almost certainly wouldn’t be prosecuting Hunter, threatening him with decades in prison.

And the notoriously private family members wouldn’t have been compelled to testify about recent traumatic events before jurors and numerous reporters.

President Biden’s Confession

President Biden has admitted to feeling guilt over Hunter and Ashley’s struggles and worries about their potential relapses, sources told Axios.

Neither Ashley nor Hunter wanted to be the reason their father didn’t run—they encouraged him to pursue the presidency, as did Jill Biden and the grandchildren.

Hunter wrote in his memoir: “Beau and I always knew that Dad wouldn’t retire until he became president.”

Joe Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, however, harbored serious reservations about her brother running, as outlined by AXIOS.

“I didn’t want the family to endure it. I was concerned the family couldn’t withstand it. I worried about Hunter. The grandchildren. And Joe,” she penned in her memoir, “Growing Up Biden.”

“Part of me wanted to tell those urging him on, ‘Look, he’s done enough. Leave him alone,'” wrote Biden Owens, known as Val.

Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign was the first Val, who had managed every previous campaign of his, had such doubts.

Aides’ Observations

Biden’s aides could see that the family was struggling during the 2020 campaign, and that Biden’s mood was significantly affected by it.

They found it unusual to see Biden’s grandchildren on the campaign trail, but rarely their parents.

Hunter’s Troubles and Ashley’s Price

Hunter’s issues have been well-publicized, but Ashley Biden has also paid a heavy toll under the presidential spotlight.

In the criminal case against the woman who sold Ashley’s rehab journal, the first daughter wrote a letter in April to the judge advocating for prison time and lengthy probation.

“I will forever have to contend with the fact that my personal journal can be viewed online…The despair I have often felt will never truly dissipate,” Ashley wrote.

She added that she was a “private citizen, targeted only because my father happened to be running for president.”

The woman, Aimee Harris, was recently sentenced to one month in prison, three months of home confinement, and three years of probation, AXIOS outlined.

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The diary includes Ashley’s interactions with her father in 2019, just before and during the campaign.

After Ashley learned in early March that he was going to run for president, she relapsed days later and called Biden, Jill, and one of their top aides.

“Mom and Dad were worried but incredibly supportive,” she wrote in her journal.

In late July, after another relapse, Ashley wrote about calling Biden again.

She noted: “My dad cried on the phone, saying he has the debate in a week and ‘now has to worry about you.’ And he cried.”

She continued: “Maybe he knows what he is doing, and it’s worked, but my feelings of guilt are often overwhelming.”

Representatives for the White House and Ashley Biden did not respond to requests for comment.

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