Until this week, a July profile in the New Yorker magazine of Hunter Biden, the younger son of former Vice President Joe Biden, seemed principally notable for the excruciating detail in which it described the younger Biden's efforts to trade on the family name (moderately successful) and his battles with substance abuse (less successful).
The title of that article, "Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father's Campaign?," now seems ironic. Among the many unflattering details in the profile: a description of a lucrative consulting contract Hunter Biden snagged with a Ukrainian energy company while his father had responsibility for that country during former President Barack Obama's second term.
But then The Washington Post this week reported that a U.S. intelligence agent filed a whistle-blower complaint about President Donald J. Trump's alleged attempts to get the Ukrainian government to investigate Hunter Biden's involvement in their country.
The unfolding story of Trump's alleged effort to influence the Ukraine has cast Hunter Biden in a more sympathetic light. Now, Democrats are rallying to the Bidens' defense—or at least using the whistle-blower's complaint as another reasons to call for Trump's impeachment. At least temporarily, that will shift the narrative around Hunter Biden from possible nepotism and cronyism to the president's ill-advised decision to raise the matter on July 25th phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
Hunter Biden could use positive press, after the New Yorker's description of him:
"[Hunter Biden] has struggled for decades with alcohol addiction and drug abuse; he went through an acrimonious divorce from his first wife, Kathleen Buhle Biden; and he had a subsequent relationship with [his brother] Beau's widow, Hallie," The New Yorker's Adam Entous wrote. "He was recently sued for child support by an Arkansas woman, Lunden Alexis Roberts, who claims that he is the father of her child. (Hunter has denied having sexual relations with Roberts.)"
This granular detail may seem superfluous to a presidential campaign. But one detail may jog the memories of local readers: Hunter Biden's first stop after graduating from Georgetown University was here in Portland.
"In July, 1992, after graduating with a B.A. in history, Hunter began a year as a Jesuit volunteer at a church in Portland, Oregon," Entous wrote. "During that time, he met Kathleen Buhle, the daughter of a Chicago schoolteacher and a ticket salesman for the White Sox. Three months after they started dating, Kathleen got pregnant, and the two were married in July, 1993."