Team Trump Targets Joe Biden Over Son Hunter Biden's Gun Crimes Conviction

Trump may use Hunter Biden's conviction on felony gun charges against Joe Biden as a campaign strategy. Experts claim it's risky.

Team Trump Targets Joe Biden Over Son Hunter Biden's Gun Crimes Conviction

Trump considers leveraging Hunter Biden's conviction against Joe Biden in recent campaign strategy.


Donald Trump could be tempted to use the conviction of Hunter Biden on felony gun charges as a campaign cudgel against Joe Biden, who is fiercely attached to his son, but experts say that strategy is risky.

Indeed, Trump's campaign team did not wait long to offer a hot take on Tuesday's ruling in a Delaware court, which stemmed from the younger Biden's 2018 purchase of a handgun while addicted to crack cocaine.

"This trial has been nothing more than a distraction from the real crimes of the Biden Crime Family, which has raked in tens of millions of dollars from China, Russia and Ukraine," the campaign said in a statement.

Republicans have long sought to derail the 81-year-old Biden's reelection bid by using his son's troubles, including some questionable business deals in China and Ukraine.

For Julian Zelizer, a professor at Princeton University, even if the verdict only concerns the 54-year-old Hunter, Trump "will try to make it about the president."

Of course, Trump himself is not without legal challenges.

Last month, he was convicted in a New York court on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who says she and Trump had a sexual encounter, in the heat of the 2016 presidential election.

It could be difficult for the 77-year-old Trump to argue that the American justice system was politicized in his case, but perfectly functional in the Biden case.

 The 2020 debate 

And the verdict could even help Biden gain sympathy from voters, given that "many families in America have children that cause difficulties," Brown University political science professor Wendy Schiller told AFP.

When asked about the case last week, Trump recalled the troubles of his brother Fred, who died at age 42 in 1981 after a battle with alcoholism.

"He was the best-looking person you have ever seen. Everything was perfect. But he had an addiction," Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity.

Trump's team will also want to keep in mind that when the real estate mogul attempted to attack Hunter during a 2020 debate, it backfired.

Biden scored points when, turning away from Trump and looking straight into the camera, he said he was proud to have a son who was able to overcome his addiction.

 What about Biden's campaign? 

The impact of the verdict on Biden's campaign could be longer-lasting and psychologically taxing.

From now until November 5, the octogenarian president will have to keep up a punishing pace between his official duties and campaign events -- all while worrying about his son and his sentencing, which is not yet set but due in the coming months.

Hunter Biden could face up to 25 years in prison, although as a first-time offender jail time is unlikely.

"Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that," Biden said immediately after the verdict.

And indeed, the president -- just back from a trip to France -- shuffled his travel schedule to head to Wilmington on Tuesday to see his son, before heading to Italy for a Group of Seven summit on Wednesday.

Hunter's problems are sure as well to revive some of the Biden family's trauma, including the death of Biden's first wife and daughter -- Hunter's mother -- in a 1972 car crash, which Hunter and his brother Beau survived.

Then in 2015, Beau Biden died after a battle with brain cancer, and a devastated Biden sank into depression, while Hunter turned to alcohol and drugs.

Those tragedies were revisited in open court in Delaware and even if the president did not attend the court proceedings in person, one can surmise that knowing his granddaughter had to testify about Hunter's problems was sure to be difficult.

"I don't think voters are going to hold Biden accountable for his son's addiction or his son's misbehavior," David Axelrod, a longtime strategist for Barack Obama, told The Washington Post.

"But I think the real question is the toll it takes on him and his family."

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)