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Why Trump won’t attack Hunter Biden

Trump's response to the Hunter Biden verdict has been muted. Credit: Getty

June 14, 2024 - 7:00pm

A curious feature of Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict was Donald Trump’s relatively muted response to the news. According to the former president, the trial was nothing but a distraction from the true crimes of the Biden family. The initial message even concluded with, “As for Hunter, we wish him well in his recovery and legal affairs”, though that line was quickly retracted.

On the face of it, his response may seem strange — there’s no one more pugilistic than Trump — but it’s not out of step with his character. Indeed, there’s basically no record of him launching unprovoked salvos on his opponents’ children. In 2016, Chelsea Clinton attacked him, but he didn’t respond, which may be why she showed a similar restraint about Barron Trump earlier this year. Similarly, Trump refrained from targeting the Obama daughters, despite his relentless attacks on their father. On the Republican side, while he questioned Nikki Haley’s husband for not being on the campaign trail, he made no mention of her children.

As one of the most outspoken presidential candidates of all times, what explains this restraint? One reason that is very personal to Trump is that his own brother died of an alcohol-induced heart attack. Trump recognises the toll that takes on a family, saying earlier this month: “Look, I feel very badly for [the Bidens] in terms of the addiction part of what they have right now”.

The second factor is that Trump, being a New York real estate mogul, is steeped in the city’s ethos, which in no small part was born of organised crime. In this world, there are rules, one of which is that you don’t go after the women and children, only the enemy. That Trump has dealt with the mafia over the course of his career is well-documented. in fact, he told a 2004 panel that he was initially hesitant to do The Apprentice because “You know, mobsters don’t like, as they’re talking to me, having cameras all over the room. It would play well on television, but it doesn’t play well with them”.

Trump himself was never part of such criminal groups, but he cut his teeth in that environment. As such, he knows the rules of the game and applies them not just to his business dealings but to his political ambitions as well.

None of this is to suggest that Trump fights “clean”, however. He’ll happily smear one primary opponent for being a prisoner of war, insinuate another’s father was involved in JFK’s assassination, and claim that a third wears high heels. He’ll disparage a son for influence peddling, but he won’t drag him down for being caught in the throes of addiction. It’s a very brash, very New York approach. But the children of his rivals? He leaves those kids alone.


Rich Cromwell is a writer living in Northwest Arkansas with his wife and three daughters.

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Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago

For all his faults, Donald Trump does seem to have a sense of honor

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Are you really this stupid?

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago

Trick question – of course you are!

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago

And I appreciate that about Donald John Trump. He has class, something his Democrat opponents seem to lack on their best days. He’s disarmingly honest, confident, funny, capable, and forgiving. I’ve read his excellent book, The Art of the Deal, and I look upon him as a personal role model for my character traits and goals in life.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

This is literally the most insane thing that I have ever read!
Let’s just start with the fact that Trump did not write a single word of The Art of the Deal and most likely has not even read it.
“disarmingly honest”
There are no words for this level of stupidity – well done!

T Bone
T Bone
1 month ago

This is the first time you’ve been right.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 month ago
Reply to  T Bone

Steady on.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  T Bone

I ain’t been wrong yet, sport

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 month ago

Being consistent is not the same thing as being right. Not that you would know.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
1 month ago

Wrong again.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

Of course, you’re totally classy. You would never call someone names.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 month ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

The American main stream media which leans very left has done everything it can to besmirch Trump’s character. When in fact, people who really know him say he’s incredibly warm, generous and funny. Do note that while Trump will attack various individual elites. He has never looked down upon the electorate like Hillary and her deplorables’ remark or Obama who referred to them as ‘bitter clingers of guns & Bibles’

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Having class is not something I would associate with Trump. He says mean, nasty things about people all the time. Biden doesn’t have class either.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I was interested to read a biography of Tucker Carlson called “Tucker” that had a lot of comments from Tucker Carlson about Donald Trump and the Bidens.
Tucker Carlson and his wife Susie got to know Hunter Biden and his wife (at the time) Kathleen pretty well, and through them Joe and Jill Biden. He did not think much of any of the Bidens (except Kathleen who impressed him a lot). Here’s what he says of Joe Biden,

Not that there was ever much depth to Joe Biden. He was famously stupid. Everyone always said he was stupid, and that he’d say anything. So that hasn’t changed — he was always skin-deep, fake, and shallow, with the hair plugs, and face lifts, and the pat-you-on-the-back stuff. But he was always very friendly.

Tucker Carlson said of Donald Trump that he was an ineffectual president because he was a terrible manager. Then he says,

But Trump on the level of guy? To have dinner with Trump is one of the great joys in the world. If you were to assemble a list of people to have dinner with, Trump would be in the top spot. He’s beyond belief. He’s a television figure. He was the number-one star at NBC. So how do you get to that? By being an incredibly amusing, charming, dynamic person. Trump at that level is just absolutely the best. So funny, so unbelievably eccentric and monomaniacal in a hilarious way. So nice, too.

I’ve read a lot of comments about both Joe Biden and Donald Trump and what kind of people they are. Comments written by people who had some insight into what they are really like. it’s interesting to compare their comments with what I see myself in the media.
My take is that both men have class. Donald Trump does say mean, nasty things, but that’s just his shtick. He doesn’t mean them to be mean. And Joe Biden can be shallow, but at heart he seems a compassionate, classy guy. Or at least he tries to be.
But who knows. Maybe I’m wrong.
_________________________
Though not directly relevant to your comment, I think Jill Biden lacks class. Here’s what Tucker Carlson had to say about her,

[Hunter Biden’s wife] Kathleen was always setting aside her own interests and duties to be the dutiful daughter-in-law. Jill Biden — excuse me, Dr. Jill — was a nasty person. Famously small-minded and dumb. If Dr. Jill didn’t want to go on foreign trips, Kathleen would go, just to be a good daughter-in-law.

And here’s what Alex Berenson had to say about Jill Biden in his Substack column just today,

In any case [Joe Biden] still has the trappings of power from Air Force One on down. Those likely mean a lot to him, and even more to “Dr.” Jill Biden, Ed.D. (I once thought mocking Dr. Jill for her pretensions and her pathetic dissertation was unfair, but she is so clearly a malign presence that I’ve reconsidered.)

Jill Biden’s degree in education may be almost as bogus as a mail-order doctorate, but her degree in classlessness has been well-earned.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Well thought out comment CD. I appreciate that. What always bothered me about Biden was his insistence that the man involved in the accident that killed his wife and daughter was drunk at the time. He did this for years, even though it was clear he was sober. His use of his son’s death as a political prop is creepy as well. What can I say about Trump? He routinely disparages people for political gain, when it isn’t necessary. I don’t like it. That too is creepy.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago

Donald Trump was married to Marla Maples for 6 years about 30 years ago. She was in her early 20s, he in his late 30s. They divorced after she apparently had an affair with her bodyguard. Perhaps needless to say, the divorce was a bit bitter.
Marla Maples and Donald Trump had a daughter together, Tiffany Trump, and mother and daughter recently went to England where Marla Maples spoke at Cambridge University. She was asked about Donald Trump, and her response was to gush at length about what a warm and wonderful person he was and is.
So Donald Trump has two ex-wives and a current wife, all of whom supported him in his first two runs for president. (This time around his first wife, Ivana Trump, has passed away.) All his 5 children and 10 grandchildren love the man for his warmth and generosity.
Could he really be the devil in disguise his enemies say he is? I don’t think so. Trump Derangement Syndrome seems to be a real thing, raging for years at pandemic levels in his political opponents. Many seem to have a chronic case. Luckily his supporters never caught the disease, or if they did, recovered from it.
Let’s hope in November we see Donald Trump win back the presidency. With the world the way it is, we need him.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Dear god, the cult is strong in this one!

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago

Yes, I did get carried away a little. The last two sentences might better have been left unsaid.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Do we know if Stormy Daniels is supporting him for president? How about Jean Carroll? I don’t suppose she cares that much, she’s off spending the tens of millions he had to pay for raping her.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago

I’m not sure who Stormy Daniels or Jean Carroll supports for president. Nor do I care. Both women are conniving liars whose gross abuse of the legal system ought to have landed them in jail. Right alongside felons Michael Avenatti and Michael Cohen.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

you know they lied? what exactly did they lie about?

seems like you just accept the Trump narrative and lack the ability to discern what is true.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

I recall way back in the campaign before Donald Trump first won the presidency, at the end of the last debate ( I think it was the last) between him and Hillary Clinton, the moderator asked both a surprising question: “What about your opponent do you respect?” (or something along those lines.).
Clinton answered: “I respect his children.His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.”
Trump said of Clinton: “She doesn’t quit; she does fight hard and she doesn’t quit and she doesn’t give up, and I respect that.”
Donald Trump is certainly a polarising character, but I agree he is needed back in the role of POTUS given the current situation. He needs to finish the job he started, hopefully now much more experienced with what he will confront and what he needs to do in four years.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davie

Finish the job he started? you mean like destroying the constitution by defying valid election results? the only thing stolen in 2020 was the GOP’s ability to stand up for what’s right and legal.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

I was a member of Parliament in Western Australia and lost my party’s support to a person who I chose not to criticise because his father committed suicide and I was aware of the son’s mental health problems. Later, after a drunken driving incident, he admitted he was bipolar and resigned from Parliament. Although I lost big time to this man, I still refuse to criticise him in case I help push him over he edge. There has to be some humanity in politics or there really is no hope for human beings.

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It would be nice if those on the left of centre could behave this way in the UK.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 month ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

Or in the US. Or anywhere. And the same goes for the right.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 month ago

Trump felt his brother’s death from alcohol so deeply that he swore off . He’s a teetotaler.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

What about Judge Merchan’s family?

Christopher
Christopher
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

When you’re in the grift with dad, you’re fair game.

William Brand
William Brand
1 month ago

Hunter’s real crime for which he was not convicted was acting as a bagman for his father the then vice president. He went around collecting bribe money from foreign businesses and governments. The big man then used the power of the US government to deliver on the bribes. Everyone knew what he had done but it was not politically possible to charge him for his real offense, so they charged him with a lesser offense that he had committed.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  William Brand

No doubt all the details are on his laptop?!?!
I just love how dumb you guys are!

Lisa Letendre
Lisa Letendre
1 month ago

I can’t even stand to look at Trump, let alone listen to him. What work is there that he’s going to finish? All he did while president was at the beck and call of religious groups (moving the capital to Jerusalem and taking away a woman’s right to choose). He made no impact on immigration, employment or the economy. And Biden is just insipid. These are the choices for me as an American citizen living in the UK. And as a UK citizen, it looks like I have Starmer to look forward to as my next PM. I give up. I want to and will vote. But who can I even stand the sight of? These men who say whatever it takes to get into power, but stand for nothing.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  Lisa Letendre

Oh, Lisa. Your cup is half full, you know …..

Who was ever a perfect human? Not me, not you. These public figures are scrutinized beyond all recognition, flaws magnified, good character traits minimized, until all you see is a caricature of the human being.

As you want to be judged, so should you judge your fellow man – as being a mixture of good and bad, with a focus on the good; so should it be with each one of us also.