Hunter Biden book – live: Full read through of president’s son’s explosive memoiravril 6, 2021
Hunter Biden opens up about relationship with brother Beau’s widow
Hunter Biden, the son of US president Joe Biden, publishes his new memoir Beautiful Things on Tuesday in which he recounts his long-running battle with drink and drugs, the grief of losing his mother as a child and later his elder brother Beau and the attacks he suffered from Donald Trump and his conspiracy-minded supporters.
In his latest interview to promote the book, Mr Biden told the BBC: “There’s something at the centre of each addict that’s missing, that they feel that they need to fill… Nothing can possibly fill it. And so you numb yourself.” Describing a low after Beau’s death from a brain tumour in 2015, he explained: “My brother had just died, I’d separated with my wife, I was in an apartment by myself, and I was basically drinking myself to death. It was awful. I mean, grief does funny things. And combine that with addiction and it is a really hard thing to overcome.”
“My life is not a tabloid,” he told Radio 4’s Today programme of his extraordinary story. “I don’t belong to an administration, I belong to a family.” He said his book is about “the love of a family and how it saved me,” adding: “We’re going through two pandemics right now… there’s the pandemic of coronavirus, and there’s a pandemic of addiction too.”
Hunter answers Trump: ‘I’m right here’
In answer to the former president’s sneer of “Where’s Hunter?”, the author writes:
“I’m right here. I’ve faced and survived worse. I’ve known the extremes of success and ruin. With my mother and baby sister killed in a car accident when I was two, my father suffering a life-threatening brain aneurysm and emolism in his forties, and my brother dying way too young from a horrible brain cancer, I come from a family forged by tragedies and unbreakable love.
“I’m not going anywhere.”
He distances himself from Don Jr and Eric Trump by pointing out that “I’ve worked for someone other than my father.”
Joe Sommerlad6 April 2021 13:20
Hunter describes Trump supporters gathering outside his house with ‘Where’s Waldo?’ placards
Dipping into Beautiful Things, the president’s son begins by describing Donald Trump’s efforts to profit from his “Where’s Hunter?” catchphrase, including by selling T-shirts on his official campaign merchandise website.
He describes the alarming site of Trump supporters “in blood-red MAGA caps” gathering outside his rented home in Los Angeles to taunt him while his pregnant wife Melissa was inside the house and his daughter receiving an anonymous threatening texts at school.
He says the president’s tactics were out of “the playbook of his dark-arts mentor, Roy Cohn” and immediately launches into an attack on Trump “henchman” Matt Gaetz for attacking him on Fox.
Joe Sommerlad6 April 2021 12:55
How tragedy shaped Joe Biden’s politics
Alex Woodward has this on the car accident that killed Neilia Hunter Biden on 18 December 1972 and her infant daughter, an event that would shape the lives of both Hunter – who was in the vehicle at the time and survived – and his father, whose outlook would forever be changed thereafter.
Joe Sommerlad6 April 2021 12:25
Hunter Biden tells Marc Maron Republicans targeted him as family’s ‘weak link’ to discourage his father from running
The author’s other big interview in the last 24 hours was with the WTF podcast host Marc Maron, himself very open about his own history with narcotics and no stranger to the recovery programme.
Maron proves a highly sympathetic listener, having initially feared Hunter would prove a “sociopathic douchebag” intent on self-sabotage, but said he became fascinated by his story of having to endure being treated as a “whipping boy by the right” while fighting to get clean of drugs.
“How does a human deal with that?” the host wonders.
The pair get on famously, Hunter joking about his Irish roots (“We’re a bunch of Finnegans”) and laughing at his late brother, who was nicknamed “the Sheriff” for being so straight-laced.
He talks about his youthful dream of being a creative writer and describes his life as “between a Raymond Carver and a Stephen King short story, to tell you the truth”.
On addiction, he says, “Getting sober is easy: all you’ve got to do is change everything”, and recounts feeling unable to get out of bed to take a shower without reaching for the pint of Smirnoff vodka he kept hidden beneath the bed.
On Republican conspiracy theories about his time in Kiev, he laughs off the idea that he was in any state to organise the web of corruption he has been accused of and says President’s Trump’s cronies targeted him because they recognised that family was the most important thing in his father’s life and that they saw him as the “weak link” and a way to try to discourage Biden Sr from running for the presidency.
“The essence of their attacks are literally the… there’s zero truth to them, but knowing you’ve got a son who’s just died and your other son who’s near-death in many ways and, if you just keep pounding on him… how does a guy survive that?” he says.
It’s great stuff and very much worth your time.
Joe Sommerlad6 April 2021 11:55
Hunter Biden pays tribute to stepmother over intervention efforts
Also on his drugs battle, the author credits Dr Jill Biden with helping him get sober – as well as his new partner, South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen.
Danielle Zoellner has this on his telling of the story to CBS.
Joe Sommerlad6 April 2021 11:35
Biden Jr on Trump: ‘A vile man on a vile mission’
One of the most searing moments in Beautiful Things is the lawyer’s attack on President Trump, who, quite frankly, had it coming.
“He pushed debunked conspiracy theories about work I did in Ukraine and China, even as his own children had pocketed millions in China and Russia and his former campaign manager [Paul Manafort] sat in a jail cell for laundering millions more from Ukraine,” Hunter Biden writes.
“None of that matters in an up-is-down Orwellian political climate. Trump believed that if he could destroy me, and by extension my father, he could dispatch any candidate of decency from either party, all while diverting attention from his own corrupt behaviour.”
He continues: “I became a proxy for Donald Trump’s fear that he wouldn’t be re-elected.”
“It was a predictable enough tactic. I expected the president to get far more personal far earlier to exploit the demons and addictions I’ve dealt with for years.”
Nathan Place has more.
Joe Sommerlad6 April 2021 11:15
‘I probably smoked more parmesan cheese than anyone that you know’
Hunter Biden’s memoir is nothing if not candid.
This is from the prologue of Beautiful Things, to give you an idea:
“I’m a 51-year-old father who helped raise three beautiful daughters. I’ve bought crack cocaine on the streets of Washington, DC, and cooked up my own inside a hotel bungalow in Los Angeles. I’ve been so desperate for a drink that I couldn’t make the one-block walk between a liquor store and my apartment without uncapping the bottle to take a swig. In the last five years alone, my two-decades-long marriage has dissolved, guns have been put in my face, and at one point I dropped clean off the grid, living in $59-a-night Super 8 motels off I-95 while scaring my family even more than myself.”
Elsewhere, he also admits to having “no recollection” of meeting DC stripper Lunden Alexis Roberts who claims he is the father of their child.
Again speaking to CBS, Hunter Biden added this detail about the depths of his crack cocaine addiction, describing himself scrabbling on the floor and picking through carpets in search of stray traces of the drug in the grip of feverish desperation.
Joe Sommerlad6 April 2021 10:55
President’s son reveals dad carried out drugs intervention with him during 2020 campaign
Here’s Gino Spocchia on Hunter’s account of his father reaching out to him in the middle of election campaigning.
Speaking to CBS this week and elaborating on an anecdote in Beautiful Things, the author described Biden Sr chasing him down the driveway of the family home in Wilmington, Delaware, following an argument.
“I tried to go to my car, and my girls literally blocked the door to my car, and said: ‘Dad, Dad, please. You can’t. No, no,” he recalled in the interview with Anthony Mason, becoming teary.
“He grabbed me – gave a bear hug, and he said – and just cried, and said – ‘I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. Please’.’”
Joe Sommerlad6 April 2021 10:30
Hunter Biden on his relationship with brother’s widow: ‘It came out of overwhelming grief’
Let’s take a look at some of the key passages in Beautiful Things in detail.
First up, here’s Namita Singh on what the president’s son has to say about his short-lived affair with Hallie Biden following Beau’s death from a brain tumour in 2015.
Joe Sommerlad6 April 2021 10:05
Rudy Giuliani claims Biden book ‘reveals many crimes ignored by the crooked media and FBI’
The president’s disgraced former attorney (once considered “America’s mayor”), who flew to Ukraine in spring 2018 in search of “evidence” to support his ludicrous Hunter Biden conspiracy theory cottage industry, is already out there attacking his new addiction memoir.
Another Trump crony, ex-US ambassador to Germany and acting national intelligence director Richard Grenell, has also been on the attack.
CNN’s media pundit Brian Stelter, no stranger to the political biography, is unsurprisingly more positive.
Shawn McCreesh of The New York Times calls it “Pulp Nonfiction”.
Joe Sommerlad6 April 2021 09:45