The Biden White House Has a New “Gatekeeper.” You’re Not Going to Like Him. (2024)


He’s been acting as Joe Biden’s “gatekeeper.”

By Luke Winkie

The Biden White House Has a New “Gatekeeper.” You’re Not Going to Like Him. (1)

Nobody can force Joe Biden to suspend his campaign. Beyond the largely symbolic threat of impeachment, forced executive abdication is simply not a tool in the shed for Democratic lawmakers. That’s the fundamental conundrum facing the country as we barrel toward perhaps the least inspiring electoral showdown in presidential history. Thus far, Biden has weathered the mounting calls for his resignation emanating from both the media and his own party by hunkering down with his inner circle—mostly friends and family—all of whom have encouraged him to block out the noise and continue this agonizing delve into the midnight of his political career. It is hard to read this obstinance as anything other than ghoulish and cravenly opportunistic, especially when you consider that one of the loudest presences influencing the president’s thinking is his perennially embattled son Hunter.

Indeed, in the many reports about the president’s postdebate crisis-management tactics, Hunter has been a recurring character. The New York Times revealed that Hunter was among the “strongest voices imploring” his father not to drop out of the race when the Bidens gathered at Camp David, and NBC confirmed that Hunter has been joining the president at a slew of meetings with top White House aides—Jared Kushner–style—during the ongoing fallout. (One staffer summed up his reaction to the intrusion as, plainly and simply: “What the hell is happening?”)

It gets worse. Yesterday Axios went so far as to describe Hunter as the de facto “gatekeeper” to Biden, a characterization that provides little faith that the sitting president isn’t growing increasingly cloistered and hostile to criticism. (Naturally, Biden hasn’t even cracked the door open to the possibility of a replacement candidate in his meetings with Democratic leadership.) We are now deep into unknown territory, and as the Democrats reckon with the stakes of this election and the terrible hand they’re holding, there is one point that nobody should compromise on: Please get Hunter Biden as far away from the White House as f*cking possible. The future of the country should not hang on what’s best for him.




I don’t want to get into a detailed annotation of Hunter’s collection of legal troubles because, frankly, they’re too complex and arcane to summarize efficiently. But basically: Hunter has been investigated for tax evasion, his business dealings in China, and his position on the board of a Ukrainian oil company, all of which have become lukewarm scandals in the Fox News extended universe. Last year, Hunter was convicted on a trio of felony gun charges (his sentencing is still pending), and in September he’ll be heading back to court to fend off a variety of financial crimes in California. The point here is that Hunter has been under siege throughout the entirety of his father’s term, and his life is certainly not going to get any easier in a world where Biden is no longer president. To widen his legal cover, it seems likely that Hunter has deduced that his best chance to stay out of trouble is to remain adjacent to executive power, and nobody should be surprised to hear that he wants to postpone his father’s return to private life for as long as possible.


For what it’s worth, Biden has been restrained on Hunter’s legal challenges in public forums. Reacting to the firearm conviction, the president said that he “will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal,” adding that he “will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that.” It will be interesting to see, should Biden lose in November, whether the president changes his tune and brandishes an appeal.

Regardless, Hunter’s self-preservation has given way to the status quo, in which an eldest son—awaiting a potential prison internment—is encouraging a president who is in clear cognitive decline and flatlining in the polls to attempt to remain in office till his mid-80s. It is also not great that the incumbent is huddling with a convicted felon on electoral matters, considering that one of the most potent strikes against Trump are his mounting court dates. If that sounds grotesque and dysfunctional, then voilà! You have accurately ascertained the state of the race. Joe Biden’s ultimate legacy will be determined in the next four months, and if his refusal to step aside results in the cataclysm of a second Trump term, then these late-campaign counsels with Hunter will become the stuff of infamy. The stakes are simply too high for Hunter’s legal recourse to be part and parcel of a world-altering victory for fascism.



Biden knows what got him here. His network of advisers is famously tight-knit and shielded from outside infringement—his presidency is a friends-and-family operation through and through. So it is ironic that those same instincts might now be engineering his downfall. American democracy might hinge on Biden’s ability to finally see the forest for the trees and divest himself of the wants and needs of his unscrupulous son as he charts the best path forward. Unfortunately, this requires an 81-year-old man to radically alter his basic nature, which is why we’re in this mess in the first place.

  • Donald Trump
  • Family
  • Joe Biden
  • Politics
  • 2024 Campaign
  • Hunter Biden


The Biden White House Has a New “Gatekeeper.” You’re Not Going to Like Him. (2024)
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