ABC and CBS Use Hunter Plea Deal to Exonerate ‘Protective’ Joe Biden

June 20th, 2023 5:54 PM

ABC and CBS both featured segments on Tuesday morning to break the news of Hunter Biden’s guilty plea to two federal charges of tax fraud in his current criminal investigation. Both shows then proceeded to praise his father, President Joe Biden, for his closeness to his son Hunter, and bemoaned the investigation’s negative effects on the President because of this close connection.

ABC News Live’s Diane Macedo brought ABC chief White House correspondent Mary Bruce onto the show to discuss the President’s “close relationship with his son.” Bruce spoke about how the President “believes that his son, Hunter, did not break the law, that he did nothing wrong,” because of this “close relationship.”

The President was also apparently “deeply proud of his son” for having overcome his “very real struggle” with his past addictions. Bruce discussed how the issue of addictions was one that Hunter had to deal with, “like so many American families, like so many in this country.”

Of course, it is true that many American families do endure the pain and struggle of having loved ones who suffer from many different kinds of addictions, and the pain of those in such situations is real. However, this has never been an excuse for allowing illegal behavior, including the whole host of alleged misdeeds that Hunter Biden had been accused of. In bringing this up, Bruce seemed to be trying to appeal to emotion, rather than presenting the simple facts of the case.



According to Bruce, the Bidens’ relationship was so close, that “it has pained the President to see his son be used to launch political attacks against him.” Again, she brought the situation back to an emotional appeal, describing how “difficult” it must be for the “President personally to watch” his son’s troubles. 

CBS News also portrayed Biden as caring and fatherly in his support of his son. Senior White House and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe admired the President's “defiant” defense of Hunter Biden. He quoted the President, saying, “My son has done nothing wrong. I trust him. I have faith in him," and “It impacts my presidency by making me feel proud of him." 

O’Keefe portrayed the President’s trust in his son as positive and cited Hunter Biden’s increasing public appearances as a signal of rectification and trustworthiness:

So, we have seen him much more, which is not only a signal that he, himself, seemed to be resolving this, but that the President felt his son could be alongside him for all this, despite the ongoing legal matter and despite the political pressure that the family is facing after this five-year ordeal.

O’Keefe painted the President as resilient and strong for coping with his son’s alleged crimes. 

Instead of dwelling on Hunter Biden’s illegal actions, which likely would negatively impact Biden’s campaign, ABC and CBS ran a pair of fluff portraying the President as a supportive father, helping his son through a difficult time. Perhaps ABC and CBS should consider a future in political ads. 

Transcripts of the sections are below (click Expand):

ABC News Live


9:34 AM ET

DIANE MACEDO: And I want to bring in ABC's chief White House correspondent Mary Bruce on this. Mary, the President obviously has talked a lot about his close relationship with his son. Any reaction from the White House on this?

MARY BRUCE: Yeah well—well, no reaction yet, Diane, but we do know that over recent years and months, the White House, the Biden administration, has often tried to distance themselves from this investigation, not commenting on it, simply instead referring to the Justice Department.

But I have to say, you know, the President has been emphatic that he believes that his son, Hunter, did not break the law, that he did nothing wrong. We know that Joe Biden is extremely protective of his family and he is also deeply proud of his son. I think it has pained the President to see his son b—be used to—to—to launch political attacks against him for so many years now.

And this President has also been very open about the very real struggle that his son has faced with addiction, which is, of course, at the center and linked to some of this investigation. He has said that Hunter, like so many American families, like so many in this country, has grappled with addiction on and off for much of his adult lifetime.

And I think to see the President use what has been, for him, a struggle that now he's very proud of his son for having gotten through that, to see that be something that has been tried to use to launch political attacks against him has been very difficult, I think, for this President personally to watch.

And, Diane, we do have to say that while we are learning more about, you know, the—what the—the President's son here, you know, is being accused of and what—what has been reached here.

The accusation that have been at the center of this, the accusations that Hunter is trading—has traded on family accu—family connections that he seized on his business dealings to Ukraine. Those are the things that Republicans have tried to use to harm Biden senior, to harm the President. Those—the issues that Republicans have seized on don't seem to be mentioned here.

CBS News


9:34 AM ET

ED O’KEEFE: Good morning to you. Yes, the President is waking up in San Francisco this morning where he has a series of fundraisers and official events later today. We will see if he has anything to say for himself at that point. I am told to anticipate some kind of statement from the White House here in a little bit, but we don’t have it yet.

He has been defiant throughout his son’s legal problems. Asked about this in an interview in May, he said, “My son has done nothing wrong. I trust him. I have faith in him." And when he was asked about how the charges may affect his own presidency, the President said, “It impacts my presidency by making me feel proud of him." 

GAYLE KING: Well, it seems like we’ve seen instances recently where we have seen Hunter physically with President Biden and deliberately so. It is like the White House wants the public to see the father and son together. What do you make of that, if anything? 

O’KEEFE: Well, it was a signal to us, Gale, that – that this was nearing some kind of conclusion. That after several years of personal recovery, rebuilding his family, dealing with his legal matters, he now suddenly was appearing far more frequently alongside his father. I remember most especially in Ireland, when the President made that trip in April, he was at a state dinner for the French President. He was at the Easter Egg Roll with his young son. He was at the Kennedy Center Honors sitting just behind his - just behind the President in December. 

So, we have seen him much more, which is not only a signal that he, himself, seemed to be resolving this, but that the President felt his son could be alongside him for all this, despite the ongoing legal matter and despite the political pressure that the family is facing after this five-year ordeal. 

KING: So, Ed, do you think that there will be political consequences or an impact to Biden’s reelection campaign because of his son’s plea deal this morning? 

O’KEEFE: Well, we’ll see. Remember, we’ve seen Republicans for several months now, especially in the wake of the indictment of former President Donald Trump, continue to talk about a so-called two-tiered system of justice. That there are certain people who get off or who get some kind of an agreement like this and others who face prosecution. 

Now, of course, there are those who corporate with Justice Department matters and there are those that don’t, and that is part of this. But certainly, Republicans will continue, it’s expected, to make hay of this.

As Scott pointed out on Capitol Hill, it certainly remains a big topic of conversation and one that even presidential candidates have been talking about. Ron DeSantis among others out on the trail continued to invoke Hunter Biden's name every day on the campaign trail. It is a well-known story among the President’s critics or opponents, and we’ll see now in the coming hours how Republicans react and how Democrats perhaps rally around the Biden family.