Every time the sun sets without President Joe Biden acknowledging his seventh grandchild, his masculinity becomes more — what’s the word? — toxic.
Thanks to a quiet settlement a few weeks ago, the president’s son dodged a paternity trial that was scheduled for July 23, meaning Sunday will come and go without much hullabaloo. And while this is surely a relief to the president, the child-support settlement doesn’t make grandchild No. 7 go away.
To hear any of the Bidens tell it, they are one big happy family with a total of six grandkiddos who are all loved. “I have six grandchildren, and I’m crazy about them. I speak to them every single day,” Biden said in April.
Before that, the first lady dedicated her 2020 children’s book “To my grandchildren,” with a list of six names. According to The New York Times, which cited two people familiar with the matter, in White House strategy meetings, the president’s aides are instructed that Joe and Jill Biden have six grandchildren, not seven. And at Christmas time, the Bidens meticulously placed six personalized stockings atop the White House mantle as a tribute to their posterity: Naomi, Finnegan, Maisy, Natalie, Beau, and Robert Hunter Biden II.
But what about Roberts? As in Navy Joan Roberts, 4-year-old daughter of Robert “Hunter” Biden the First. The presidential family not only fails to accept or acknowledge her — they go out of their way to reinforce the completely false idea that they have precisely six grandchildren. As Maureen Dowd recently scolded in The New York Times, “It’s Seven Grandkids, Mr. President.”
Biden’s fans didn’t like that. The shrews of “The View,” for instance, told Dowd to “find something else to write about.” Whoopie Goldberg was insistent: “When you start talking about people’s families, and what they’re doing, I find it unnecessary. This is not anybody’s business.”
All in the Family?
The problem is, the first family is always the first one to talk about the first family. You don’t get to lie about your relatives on the national stage and then claim Invasion of privacy! Unnecessary! None of your business! when critics correct the record. This is especially true if you routinely invoke your family and its tragedies to present yourself as a dedicated family man.
Joe Biden does this all the time. He frequently refers to his deceased son Beau to score political points or weasel his way out of accountability. More than once, Biden’s even lied about the circumstances of Beau’s death, claiming he died in combat in Iraq when he actually died of cancer. When Biden’s dereliction of duty led to a catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan, leaving 13 brave American servicemembers dead, Beau’s name was cocked and loaded.
Biden also loves to talk about how “very proud” he is of his addict son, Navy’s father, whom Biden calls “the smartest guy I know.” The patriarch has many times talked about the loss of his first wife and daughter in a car accident more than 50 years ago. And in 2021, he claimed he “had a house burn down with my wife in it.” (According to reports from the time, a lightning strike caused a small kitchen fire that “was under control in 20 minutes.” Jill is obviously fine.) Point being, the grandkids aren’t the only family Biden habitually talks and lies about. It’s a compulsion.
“Joe Biden’s mantra has always been that ‘the absolute most important thing is your family,’” Dowd wrote. “It is the heart of his political narrative. Empathy, born of family tragedies, has been his stock in trade. Callously scarring Navy’s life, just as it gets started, undercuts that.” Dowd continued:
What the Navy story reveals is how dated and inauthentic the 80-year-old president’s view of family is. Once you could get away with using terms like ‘out of wedlock’ and pretend that children born outside marriage didn’t exist or were somehow shameful. But now we have become vastly more accepting of nontraditional families. We live in an Ancestry.com world, where people are searching out their birth parents and trying to find relatives they didn’t know they had.
Dowd is right that Biden’s view of family is “inauthentic.” You can’t be simultaneously “very proud” of your son and also deny the existence of his daughter. But there’s more.
It’s pretty handy for Hunter and Joe that they each have a Y chromosome and thus can easily sweep an unintended pregnancy and unwanted child under the rug. If male privilege exists, this is its quintessence.
Women — and their fathers — don’t have that luxury. For the maternal half of the doing-it duo, it’s a little harder to escape those doctors’ visits and cravings and pains and episodes of vomiting and the oh-so-conspicuous bump. And that’s just before the child is born. Once he or she enters the post-amniotic world, that child is attached to its mother in a million ways that can’t just be undone by omitting one little red-and-green stocking at Yuletide.
It should go without saying that under the Biden prescription for unplanned pregnancy, Navy wouldn’t exist today at all; abortion is a cure-all for exactly these inconvenient situations. That perhaps helps explain why Joe and the rest of the Biden dynasty can so easily discard her existence in practice, if not in reality.
Speaking of dynasty, there’s another one that’s taken a very different approach to unexpected fatherhood — and put the Bidens to shame. Just a few years ago, Phil Robertson, the then-74-year-old patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” family, learned he had a 45-year-old daughter — the product of an affair early in his marriage before he converted to Christianity. When the woman, Phyliss, reached out to a member of the Robertson clan, Phil took a DNA test and learned he was a 99.9 percent match. As Today reported:
He said he didn’t hesitate to want to contact her. The family has quickly embraced the daughter and sister they didn’t know they had. … Phil Robertson’s wife, who is known as Miss Kay, also graciously accepted Phyliss despite learning she was the product of an affair.
Unexpected pregnancies offer plenty of other broader, enduring lessons about marriage, sex, fatherhood, and child-rearing. But the undertow here, as in all of life’s imperfections, is that when mistakes are made, decent people own up to them and bear the consequences — especially when those missteps profoundly affect someone else’s life.
Navy knows who her father is. She knows who her grandfather is. But the powerful Biden men have never wanted to meet her. Instead, their own flesh and blood has had to settle for a couple of Hunter’s lousy paintings and some child support he’s negotiated down. Navy isn’t even allowed to have the Biden name.
Her father, however, apparently considers everything squared. As Hunter wrote in his memoir, he doesn’t remember his tryst with Navy’s mother at all. “That’s how little connection I had with anyone. I was a mess, but a mess I’ve taken responsibility for.”
Wrong. He absolutely hasn’t. And his father aids and abets him. As Dowd wrote, “the president can’t defend Hunter on all his other messes and draw the line at accepting one little girl.”
Navy bears exactly zero responsibility for the circumstances of her birth. You can’t keep a little girl out of the family just because her daddy couldn’t keep it in his pants. Talk about toxic.