Cockburn is the last person to mount his hobbyhorse about sexual morality. Your hardened correspondent didn’t just attend one of Britain’s boarding schools. As a reporter, Cockburn has inked his quill in Bangkok, Tangier, Washington, DC, and a nudist colony in Finland. But even Cockburn winces as he braces himself to write the lines that, conscientious journalist that he is, he knows he will surely pen in the coming weeks or months. For the moment must come when Donald Trump turns the imperial tweeters on Joe Biden’s biggest liability: his son, Hunter Biden.
As the sunbeam passes through the Vermouth that neatly drops into the Martini that is Cockburn’s afternoon sharpener, his mind conjures the fatal Trump tweet:
@realDonaldTrump: ‘Only Reporting: Sleepy Joe Biden’s son Hunter wasn’t so sleepy! Until recently, he was sleeping with his deceased brother’s widow! Yuck.’
Joe Biden is the runaway Democratic presidential front-runner. Robert Hunter Biden is the kind of son that a presidential candidate might want to run away from. Not since Roger Clinton had a runny nose has a potential president been lumbered with such a liability.
In 2014, Hunter Biden was discharged only a month into his stellar career in the US Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine. Perhaps he could try the Special Forces next, and go for snow patrol.
Then, Biden dated his brother’s widow, Hallie Olivere, immediately after the death of her late husband, Beau Biden, the former Attorney General of Delaware. This relationship may have been connected to Hunter’s divorce from the mother of his three children. She has accused him of ‘spending extravagantly on his own interests including drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs, and gifts for women with whom he has sexual relations’.
Meanwhile, Hunter was taking care of business, by taking a seat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company owned by an oligarch with links to Ukraine’s not at all corrupt ex-president Viktor Yakunovych. Earlier this month, the New York Times described how Hunter, though clearly an energetic guy, had no prior experience in the energy sector, but received a modest salary of $50,000 a month for unspecified services on Burisma’s board.
The Times also alleged that Hunter ‘had a stake in the outcome’ in 2016, when Vice President Biden ‘threatened to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss the country’s top prosecutor, who had been accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in his own office and among the political elite’.
Nothing to see, move along. Thus far, none of Joe Biden’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination has stooped low enough to mention — or even leak about — Hunter Biden’s past. But if Uncle Joe looks like storming to his party’s nomination, will one of the other Democratic contenders stoop too conquer? And what would stop Donald Trump from offering moral guidance to the American people on Hunter Biden?
Joe Biden blessed Hunter and Hollie’s unorthodox domestic arrangements, and he doubtless doesn’t want the matter brought back up. ‘My generic point is,’ Biden said of his family earlier this spring, as he eased into the race, ‘they know how tough it’s going to be.’
It’s not clear if they do. President Trump is a staunch defender of the Biblical small print, in word if not in deed. How, as bed-hopping Hunter Biden is carried towards the White House on a tide of drugs and discharge, could the president do anything other than obey the dictates of his conscience, that still, small voice which is so quiet he mostly can’t hear it at all?