A Comparative Note

Hunter Biden v. DJT Trials Edition.

The following struck me in listening to The Daily earlier this week:

for most days of this week long trial, Jill Biden, the first lady, was in the front row sitting directly behind Hunter Biden. Hmm. So the first lady of the United States keeps her eyes on Hunter, on the prosecutors, on the defense team, most of the trial. She left for one day to go to France And. she left the president’s side in France to come back to this trial. That is the starkest illustration to me of the Biden family’s priorities.

At one point yesterday in the courtroom, I counted at least eight members of the Biden family Hunter’s Uncle Jimmy Biden was sitting in the front row, as was his sister, Ashley Biden, his aunt Valerie Biden Owens, who raised him in the first years of his life after his mother died, was in the front row. It had become sort of a family affair Sitting in that courtroom.

I would further note the image above and the related story via ABC News: Biden shows support for son Hunter after conviction, says he will respect verdict.

The following is also relevant:

“As I also said last week, I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal,” the president added. “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.”


Last week, Biden told ABC News “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir he would accept the result of the proceeding and would not pardon his son.

Now, the contrasts here are to the Trump family and to Trump’s own reactions to the judicial process.

Via Politico: Trump’s family steers clear of trial — even as he spotlights them. Only Eric Trump was there at the verdict. Ivanka and Melania Trump were utterly absent from the entire affair.

For the record, I can understand why Melania did not want to be present, insofar as the nature of Trump’s actions are rightfully embarrassing to her and he does not deserve to have her do the good wife routine. Still, it underscores that clearly his wife and daughter think he did what he did as they are not willing to publically support him during his time of need as families usually do. Moreover, if the charges were, in fact, all just drummed up, you would think there would be more indignation from his family.

CNN elaborates: Trump’s family members have visited court during the hush money trial. Notably missing: Melania and Ivanka Trump.

With a jury verdict potentially days away, Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump have yet to join the former president as he defends himself against 34 charges. Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband and a key adviser to Trump during his four years in Washington, hasn’t journeyed to 100 Centre Street for the trial, either.

Eric Trump, meanwhile, has on several occasions appeared behind his father inside the dingy Manhattan courthouse. Donald Trump Jr., though recovering from knee surgery, has made a few visits as well. On Tuesday, the two were joined by Eric’s wife, Lara, and, for the first time, Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany, and her husband, Michael Boulos.

And as it pertains to respecting the judiciary, instead of stating respect for the process, the Trumps are calling the process “rigged,” “a political persecution,” and the like.

I have no profound analysis here, but simply would note that my entire life I have been told that the Republicans are the party of “family values” and of “law and order.” And yet, what is on display here is quite the opposite.

It strikes me as rather difficult to not see the importance of family for the Bidens in contrast to a far more tepid circumstance for the Trumps. And, even more starkly, it is obvious which group respects the rule of law and which group does not.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. steve says:

    Family value mostly means imposing the values held by GOP families upon other families. It doesnt mean that they actually have to live up to those values themselves and they certainly dont require it of their leaders.


  2. CSK says:

    This is just further proof of how transactional all the Trump family relationships are. Ivanka has decided her father serves no purpose in her life, unless he becomes president again. Tiffany was always his least favored spawn, an afterthought at best. Eric and Junior are sometimes useful idiots. Melania is a showpiece. Barron is Melania’s son, as Trump himself has often pointed out.

    You reap what you sow.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    Someone did quoted our departed friend Teve the other day, “shitty people, shitty values. That amply sums up the trump family.

    The Biden’s are behaving just as you would expect a family to act.

  4. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I think Trump believes that his crew of reprobates is what a family is supposed to be.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Years ago somebody made the comment to me that those who proclaim the loudest are all phonies. I thought it was trite and discounted it but the years have bourne it out. Christians? Patriots? Moralists? If you’re thumping your chest there’s a very good chance you are the opposite.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:


    Reminds me of a bromide on dysfunctional families, something to the effect of, “functional families are alike, while dysfunctional families are unique in their dysfunction.

    Felon trump would think that.

  7. CSK says:

    Sleeping Dog:

    It amuses/sickens me when MAGAs coo about what a”great dad” Trump is. Sure he is. He wants to boink his eldest daughter and refuses to have his picture taken with his youngest because he claims she’s “too fat.”

    Yes indeedy: a truly great dad.

  8. Kevin says:

    @CSK: A Mafia family, yes.

  9. Joe says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

    – Opening of Anna Karenina

  10. Ken_L says:

    Trump Republicans saw through the motives of the Bidens. Family values my foot! They were there to intimidate the court!

    Joe Biden’s looming presence in the strange small city leaves nobody in any doubt of the message he is sending to Delaware special counsel David Weiss, the prosecutors, the judge, and the jury pool being chosen Monday: You mess with my son, you mess with me.


  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    I feel like all that “family values” ever meant was A) not having sex while not being married, or perhaps at least not having children while unmarried and B) not being gay.

    Of course “family values” could also mean to some, “have lots and lots of children” or “oppose abortions” or “don’t use birth control”, and so on. It’s a classic marketing gimmick. It doesn’t mean anything on its own, so it means whatever you want it to mean in the moment.

    “San Francisco values” has a somewhat similar, if opposite, meaning. In “SF values” it’s good to be gay, and to just have sex all the time. Or, put another way, it’s good to be tolerant of people and let them live the life they want to live as long as it doesn’t harm somebody else.

    Oh, and as far as I can see, Prosperity is definitely a SF value. Though “soulless money grubbers” is not a thing the Right tends to say about us. The Left, sure…

  12. Jack says:

    My, my, how juvenile can you be?

    With the bottom of the barrel manufactured issues and outrage I’m seeing, the left must be getting very worried. At least Joe Biden is at the top of his game. At least I’m told.



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