President Donald Trump has sought, without evidence, to implicate Biden and his son Hunter in the kind of corruption that has long plagued Ukraine.
The president’s baseless claims have nonetheless thrust Hunter Biden into the center of presidential politics, complete with reminders of a checkered history that includes the younger Biden’s multiple stints in drug rehab and other personal problems. He’s part of a sometimes unfortunate American tradition in which the foibles of otherwise obscure people become liabilities for national leaders.
“Everyone’s affected when somebody becomes president,” said Carl Anthony, author of “America’s First Families.” ”Often these people end up feeling that their entire identity is filtered through who they’re related to.”
John Adams, America’s second president, had a son who died of alcoholism while the father was still in office. Adams’ oldest son, John Quincy Adams, became the sixth president, but John Quincy Adams’ son John was “thrown out of Harvard for drinking and partying,” according to Anthony.
Presidential historian Doug Wead says both the pressures and temptations of a presidential child or sibling can be unique and distinct from relatives of other famous celebrities or prominent businessmen.
“It’s just enormous pressure to perform. The expectations are so high,” said Wead, author of “All the Presidents’ Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of the First Families.”