As addiction memoirs go, Hunter Biden’s “Beautiful Things” is remarkable in one great sense: As poorly as he comes across, it’s his father, President Biden, whose character takes a hit. The Joe Biden depicted here is an absentee father, a remote parent who couldn’t or wouldn’t open up emotionally.
Hunter Biden, now 51 and reinventing himself as an author, artist and recovering addict, certainly spares himself. Sure, there are pages upon pages of Hunter smoking crack and cycling through rehabs, but the really interesting stuff is what he has explained away or left out entirely — worth revisiting here, not least because the national media is lapping up this trite and clichéd redemption narrative without, as President Biden’s pal and former boss Barack Obama might say, “checking under the hood and kicking the tires.”
Clearly and understandably, Hunter Biden is a mess. But he is also a terrible person. Both things can be true at the same time.
That said, Hunter lifts the hood just enough for the reader to wonder: Where’s Joe? Where is he as his two little boys, 3-year-old Beau and 2-year-old Hunter, recover from the car crash that killed their mother and 13-month-old sister?
It’s a depiction far at odds with Brand Biden: Joe the grandfatherly figure so painfully familiar with loss and grief that his empathy is boundless, enough to soothe and unite a traumatized nation.
Yet, as Hunter writes, in the immediate aftermath of that crash, his father chose not to walk away from his newly won US Senate seat or even take a hiatus to care for his wounded and traumatized toddlers. Instead, Joe Biden had the press photograph his swearing-in from the boys’ hospital room, an image that, incredibly, remains his political calling card.
“The consequences of the crash impacted the entire state,” Hunter writes. “Republican, Democrat — it didn’t matter. Delaware’s residents placed their sorrows and their hopes in a dashing young widower suddenly left with two toddlers.”
Hunter Biden’s memoir, “Beautiful Things” is out April 6. Gallery Books via AP
The subtext is clear: If only Hunter felt he, too, could place his sorrows and hopes with his father.
The big question looming over this book is, Why? Why now? Why does this book exist? Is Hunter so broke (likely, as we’ll see) that he took a pure money grab? Is it an attempt to clear his name from accusations of influence-peddling, pay-to-play, or the federal investigation into his taxes and possible money laundering? An attempt, conscious or not, to slay the father whose shadow he dwells in — the father who clearly favored Beau?
It might just be all three.
One pure throughline: Hunter’s brother, Beau, who died of a brain tumor in 2015 at age 46, was the love of Hunter’s life.
“Beau was an unflagging lodestar for me,” Hunter writes.
“We were inseparable, often referred to by a single moniker: BeauAndHunt.”
The two were bonded as sole survivors of that horrific car crash, then further as brothers without a mother or, really, their father.
Here we learn for the first time of the people who really raised Beau and Hunter: Joe’s sister, Val, and his brother Jim, who moved into their home in Delaware so Joe could focus on his career.
“Our mommy” is what the boys called their biological mother still, as adults. Hunter calls her that here. And while Hunter claims that he and Beau considered Joe’s second wife, Jill, their mother, too, a text exchange on Hunter’s laptop contradicts that happy ending.
Discussing his romantic travails, Hunter’s therapist texted, “You’re avoiding being the chosen one, because you were not the chosen one, by your step-mother.”
While their father took them to rallies or stump speeches or had them up to Capitol Hill for field days, it was, “from the moment we left the hospital,” Hunter writes, that “we had our dad’s sister — Aunt Val, move in and not only take care of our immediate daily needs but also be as warm and tender and emotive as a mother figure could possibly be.”
As toddlers in 1973, Hunter and Beau Biden saw dad Joe Biden sworn in to his Senate seat from their hospital room after the horrific crash that killed their mom and sister. AP
What’s not in the book is all a matter of public record. Him trading on his father’s name for high-paying gigs in Ukraine and China, barely qualified, and — reading between the lines of this book — barely working or functional because of his binges.
There is no clearer recent example of left-wing media bias than the glow-up collectively given Hunter Biden, whose only sin, they would have it, is being an addict.
Why are so many prominent reporters and columnists covering this memoir — those who pride themselves on always being right-thinking and woke — able to avoid asking this hard, obvious question: How many black or Hispanic crack addicts do you know who have never served time? Who got a mortgage for a $1.6 million home, as Hunter did in 2006, with no money down?
Who got appointed to the board of Amtrak or scored super-high-paying gigs “consulting” for international firms while high on crack and booze? Given passes for cheating on their wives with strippers, hookers, or their dead brother’s wife? While knocking up a stripper on the side?
And is then rewarded with a rumored $2 million book deal?
There’s a lot of padding in this book: Pages on the socioeconomic history of Delaware, on how, where and with whom Hunter smoked crack (as boring as it sounds), a bland and exculpatory 17½-page chapter on what he says he did to earn $50,000 a month from Burisma.
“Make sure,” Hunter tells us, “Burisma further implemented corporate practices that were up to ethical snuff.”
Oh, yes: When it comes to ethics, Hunter Biden’s clearly your guy.
“I’m leaving you because you are having an affair and you have been emotionally abusive,” Hunter’s wife Kathleen e-mailed him in July 2016, months before Hunter claimed they had officially separated. Hunter and Beau’s widow, Hallie Biden, didn’t go public until March 2017, after Page Six broke the story.
From left: Ashley Biden, Hunter Biden and Beau Biden watch then-VP Joe Biden speak at the 2012 DNC in Charlotte, North Carolina. Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesHunter claimed a deep and profound trauma bond with Hallie over Beau’s death. Turns out it wasn’t that poetic.
“You say you were surprised by my asking for a separation and needed time to process it,” Kathleen wrote. “I was surprised when I found your bottles of Viagra and Cialis. I was surprised when I found airline purchases and jewelry purchases.”
In her divorce filing, Kathleen, mother of their three girls, accused Hunter of blowing the family’s money on hookers, strippers and drugs. She said he had maxed out the family’s credit cards, owed over $300,000 in taxes and had moved $122,179 from a joint account into his own.
Kathleen also discovered Hunter had come into possession of an $80,000 diamond ring — which Hunter later told The New Yorker had been gifted to him by a Chinese tycoon. Nothing to see here, totally cool.
Hunter Biden is also under investigation for his business dealings in China.
How is none of this in Hunter Biden’s memoir? If Simon & Schuster really paid Hunter seven figures for this book, you’d think they’d demand their money’s worth.
It gets better. Hunter, after begging his father to issue a statement of support, moves in with Hallie and begins parenting the two children she shared with Beau.
He then simultaneously, according to messages found on the laptop he left at a repair shop, seemingly hooks up with Hallie’s married sister Elizabeth.
“We should shower together by [FaceTime] every morning or night,” Hunter texts Elizabeth. “I’ll teach you how to masturbate.”
A text from Hunter to Hallie in November 2017: “By the way I’m going to have 5 strippers naked and admiring my d- -k back to my hotel tonight and I’m going to smoke crack and drink enough to kill and [sic] elephant and put your kids robbed over the phone and wake them up and assure them that your [sic] not as bad a person as you seem.”
Also found on Hunter’s laptop was a 2018 lease, for Hunter and Elizabeth, to rent a three-bedroom townhouse in Delaware.
This was two years after a text in which Elizabeth told Hunter she and her sister Hallie are always “100% with you!!!”
The dynamics of this relationship are unclear. Did Hallie know? Was there an unspoken agreement? Or something darker?
“They were living at Beau’s old house, and it just became a party house,” a source told the Daily Mail. “They were obviously up 24/7 just partying. They would sit out on the patio like crackheads almost.”
I decided I wasn’t going to hide who I was anymore. You want to know about my life? Here are the gory details. F–k it.”Hunter Biden, in his family plot-hole-filled memoir, on his scandalous sit-down with The New YorkerIn the midst of this entanglement, Hunter has sex with a stripper. She does not appear until the end of the book, and the writing is reptilian in its coldness: “The other women I’d been with during rampages since my divorce were hardly the dating type” — unlike Hunter, the guy you’d bring home to mom — “It’s why I would later challenge in court the woman from Arkansas who had a baby in 2018 and claimed the child was mine — I had no recollection of our encounter.”
Spoiler alert: The baby is Hunter’s, and does not appear by age or name or gender here.
Meanwhile, as his dad is about to announce for president in 2019, Hunter gets another great idea: He should secretly give a tell-all exclusive to The New Yorker, while still in the throes of a raging crack addiction.
“For me, “ he writes, “it was an opportunity to not only give my side of [the] story but shout to the world, ‘Here I am!’ . . . I decided I wasn’t going to hide who I was anymore. You want to know about my life? Here are the gory details. F–k it.”
Given Hunter’s evasions on the printed page, coming clean is clearly not why this book exists.
Psychology 101 would have Hunter’s affair with Hallie an attempt to have what Beau had, if not to become Beau. His concurrent affair with Hallie’s own sister would imply that it wasn’t enough to have Beau’s widow — he also had to drag her down to his level, to ruin the perfect wife of the perfect son. And his lifelong battle with addiction seems far from over, despite the fairy-tale ending he gives this book — marrying a woman he had known for six days, fresh off another crack bender, no Bidens at the wedding but his dad, via cellphone, saying, “Honey, I knew that when you found love again, I’d get you back.”
“Dad, I always had love,” Hunter replied. “And the only thing that allowed me to see it was the fact that you never gave up on me — that you always believed in me.”
Hunter may believe that. He may need to believe that. But as anyone who has experience with addicts knows, it is only when the truth is really told and responsibility truly taken — no excuses or minimizing or blame-shifting — can you be sure an addict is for real.
Hunter Biden’s memoir — to the shame of an adoring media — is nothing more than a political fairy tale.