A Senator’s Son Fights for Political Survival

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It’s Jess again! It’s not just the Menendezes who are navigating the complexities of family, politics and court dates. Right now, the political landscape is consumed with trials and family entanglements, adding a layer of family drama to the year’s major story lines and pushing the archetypal role of supportive spouse, child or parent of a political figure into new territory.

On Monday, the first lady, Jill Biden, appeared at the trial of Hunter Biden, who is accused of lying about his drug use in a federal firearms application in 2018. She spent the day — her 73rd birthday — in the courtroom’s front row, listening closely to interviews with prospective jurors and giving her son a long hug during a break, my colleagues Glenn Thrush and Eileen Sullivan reported. Here’s what they wrote:

The presence of Mr. Biden’s family and friends, including his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, his half sister, Ashley Biden, and his close friend Kevin Morris, served as a reminder that the trial was also a profound personal crisis for a family that has had more than its share of travails — in the middle of the most unforgiving presidential campaign in recent memory.

Some members of Donald Trump’s family offered moral support during his criminal trial — Trump’s son Eric ramped up his presence in court as the trial went along, though the former president’s wife, Melania, never attended — but they took on another role, too: aggressive political messaging.

Eric, his wife, Lara, and his brother Donald Trump Jr. gave a fiery news conference during the trial, where they denounced the proceedings and solicited campaign donations. And over the weekend, Lara Trump, who is the co-chair of the Republican National Committee, appeared on television on Sunday to defend her father-in-law — and to impugn one of the rare Republicans who had called for the public to respect the verdict: former Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland.

Jess Bidgood


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