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Trump’s Bet on ‘Hunter Biden’s Conviction’: Could it Backfire?

Donald Trump might be tempted to exploit Hunter Biden’s conviction on gun-related charges in his campaign against Joe Biden, who is deeply attached to his son. However, experts warn that this strategy could backfire.



Trump’s campaign team did not wait long before issuing a strong reaction to Tuesday’s verdict in a Delaware court regarding Hunter Biden’s 2018 purchase of a firearm while he was addicted to cocaine.

In a statement, Trump’s campaign team said: “This trial was just an attempt to distract from the real crimes of the Biden crime family, which amassed tens of millions of dollars from China, Russia, and Ukraine.”

Republicans have long sought to derail Biden’s re-election bid by exploiting his son’s troubles, including some business dealings in China and Ukraine that raise many questions.

Julian Zelizer, a professor at Princeton University, noted that while the verdict only relates to Hunter Biden, Trump “will try to link the issue to the president.”

Of course, Trump himself faces numerous legal difficulties. Last month, a New York court convicted him of 34 criminal counts related to falsifying business records to hide payments made to silence porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump at the height of the 2016 presidential election.

It could be difficult for Trump to emphasize that the US judicial system was politicized in his case but neutral and effective in Hunter Biden’s case.

The 2020 Debate

The verdict might even help Biden gain voter sympathy, as “many families in America have children who cause trouble,” according to Wendy Schiller, a political science professor at Brown University, speaking to AFP.

When asked about the issue last week, Trump recalled the difficulties faced by his brother Fred, who died at 42 in 1981 after battling alcoholism.

“He was the most handsome person you could ever see in your life. Everything was perfect. But he had an addiction,” Trump told Fox News.

What About Biden’s Campaign?

The impact of the verdict on Biden’s campaign will be long-lasting and emotionally taxing. Between now and November 5, the octogenarian president will have to balance his official duties and campaign events while worrying about his son and the upcoming verdict.

Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison, but it is unlikely he will be incarcerated as he has no prior criminal record.

Biden said after the verdict: “Jill (the First Lady) and I will be here for Hunter and our family with all our love and support. Nothing will change that.”

The president had already adjusted his schedule to travel to Wilmington on Tuesday to see his son before heading to Italy for the G7 summit on Wednesday.

Hunter Biden’s troubles reignite some of the traumas the Biden family has endured, including the death of Biden’s first wife (Hunter’s mother) and daughter in a car accident in 1972, which Hunter and his brother Beau survived.

In 2015, Beau Biden died of brain cancer, which plunged Joe Biden into depression and led Hunter to alcohol and drugs.

These tragedies were revisited during the Delaware trial. Although the president did not attend the sessions personally, it is clear that knowing his granddaughter had to testify about Hunter’s problems was difficult to bear.

David Axelrod, a long-time strategist for Barack Obama, told the Washington Post: “I don’t think voters will hold Biden responsible for his son’s addiction or misconduct. But I think the real question is the impact it will have on him and his family.”

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