For years, Joe Biden’s second son has been a tabloid buffet of strippers, leaked photos, crack pipes, family love triangles, an incriminating laptop, a stray gun and ethical quandaries.
When the book was announced two months ago, it seemed like another bad calculation by Hunter, sure to overshadow his father’s presidential honeymoon.
But it isn’t. The book, ineffably sad and beautifully written, tears the tabloid face off the story about an American family that has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The outline is familiar but the details are wrenching, proving that drugs can drag anyone down, even a famous politician’s privileged son who drove into inner cities to buy crack in his Porsche and who had plenty of Burisma “funny money,” as he called it, to rehab-hop. Even his father, chasing him down a driveway after a family intervention, could not overcome “crack’s dark power.”
Page after page, you wonder: How the hell is this guy still alive?
At 51, Hunter has not lost his knack for getting tangled up in messes. He offered a disingenuous reply in a CBS interview airing Sunday about the notorious laptop he supposedly forgot to pick up from a Delaware repair shop: “There could be a laptop out there that was stolen from me. It could be that I was hacked. It could be that it was the — that it was Russian intelligence.” No one is buying that.
The book recounts a litany of other times he left incriminating evidence in rental cars, got ripped off in drug deals or had his Gucci loafers, $800 sports coat and Rimowa luggage stolen by the “scummy subculture” he was hanging with in Hollywood hotels.
And while he writes that he would not go on the Burisma board if he had to do it over again, because it allowed Trump to target him and his dad, he doesn’t acknowledge that his Ukraine and China dealings were super swampy.
Still, the book illuminates the underworld of addiction — our national shame — that left the son of a vice president and presidential candidate sharing an apartment with his crack connection in the shadow of the White House; sweating, crying, chanting the “Hail Mary,” dropping off the grid to live in a $59-a-night Super 8 motel off I-95, and getting blacklisted by one Hollywood hotel after another because of his “traveling band of vampires” straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie, “an opaque, sinister night world of interconnected lives that roamed L.A. between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.,” consisting of “thieves, junkies, petty dealers, over-the-hill strippers, con artists and assorted hangers-on.” Not to mention Samoan gangsters with wild nicknames.