I grew up understanding the importance of military sacrifice and commitment. My mother was born in 1950 on an army base in Japan where both my grandmother and grandfather were serving. My other grandfather — an orphan — lied about his age and entered the navy at 17 to escape an abusive group home. He was on the beaches of Normandy on that fateful day in June of 1944, as a kid, fighting in a war. Thankfully, he survived — or my dad and I wouldn’t be here. My father served in the army. My father-in-law served in the army. Two of my brothers-in-law served in the army and marines. And for all of them and their service, I am forever grateful.
I grew up respecting all that the military does for us. I watched my sister wait, by the phone, through her husband’s three deployments to Iraq, one of which consumed her entire pregnancy. I’ve heard stories of my family’s military service—some stories of pride, others of anguish, and I know what that promise to serve our country meant to them. What it still means to them today. And what it means to military families—families who deserve to be honored and respected, especially by the President of the United States.
That’s why Donald Trump’s insults and lies about Hunter Biden are particularly despicable. The commander-in-chief (especially one who shirked serving himself) mocking any American who served our country is one of the many (many, many) reasons he’s not fit for office as he continuously disrespects the honor bestowed upon him.
Listen, we get it—it’s an election year. Politics are dirty. All politicians play the game and look for ways to jab at their opponents. Carter did it. Reagan did it. Both Clintons did it. And both Bushes too. Up until this administration, however, there was also a level of decorum. There were some topics you just didn’t touch, out of respect and basic public decency. And one of those is that you don’t attack each other kids, especially if they’ve faced insurmountable grief as the Biden family has. And you always, always honor those who have served.
But basic respect isn’t something Trump believes in. It’s all fair game to him—the military and his opponents’ families included. His insults know no bounds, and now they’ve included insulting and lying about Hunter Biden, who was discharged from the navy due to his substance abuse and struggles with addiction.
And there’s yet a third topic that an honorable, mature leader like Barack Obama would have never mocked—addiction. As our country remains ravaged by an opioid addiction and as the meth epidemic continue to destroy rural American towns, you’d think our leader would know (and care) about what the disease of addiction can do to his people. And that he’d know it isn’t a joke.
But resident “swamp drainers” Donald Trump and crew have taken the opportunity to insult Hunter Biden—a man who has already lost two siblings and his mother in very tragic deaths—for his addiction and subsequent discharge from the navy.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised since old Mr. Bone Spurs has made insulting military service a regular part of his campaign and presidency. The late John McCain, a Vietnam War veteran who lived in captivity and was tortured as a POW for years, was a frequent subject of Trump’s derision, even after his death. Trump has also referenced any military personnel who dies or is captured as a “loser” or a “sucker,” which is interesting as he has literally zero experience in battle himself, nor do his rich, entitled children. Yet they feel emboldened to insult those who give the ultimate sacrifice for our nation as they enjoy all that military protection offers.
So, to clarify and undo the damage that one of his endless lies has caused, no, Hunter Biden did not receive a dishonorable discharge from the navy due to substance abuse. Here are the facts: He was discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine. In response, Hunter Biden said this: “It was the honor of my life to serve in the U.S. Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge. I respect the Navy’s decision. With the love and support of my family, I’m moving forward.”
The discharge was administrative. Not dishonorable.
(By the way, Trump, for reference, this is what “taking responsibility” looks like. Also known as “owning your mistakes and learning from them to better yourself.” Might want to print out this example and tack it to your mirror so you can practice.)
Trump took a cheap shot at Joe Biden’s son, and everyone knows it. But Biden knows what it means to honor military service, as not only did Hunter serve, but so did his late son Beau. And he has zero tolerance for draft-dodger Donald Trump insulting our own soldiers.
“Speaking of my son, the way you talk about the military, the way you talk about them being losers and being suckers, my son was in Iraq. He spent a year there. He got the bronze star. He was not a loser. He was a patriot, and the people left behind were heroes,” Biden said in that recent shit-show of a debate, about Beau’s service.
But then our kindergartener-in-chief went after Hunter, falsely claiming that he “got thrown out of the military” and was “dishonorably discharged” because of cocaine use. “He didn’t have a job until you became vice president,” Trump also tacked on, adding more falsehoods to his attack.
After Biden responded with, “None of that is true,” he went on to say this: “My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people I know at home, had a drug problem. He has overtaken it. He has fixed it. I am proud of him,” as a true father should. A father with morals. A father with integrity. A father with a loving heart for his kids. Because that’s who Joe Biden is, but unfortunately for the Trump kids, that’s who Donald Trump is not.
The truth is, Hunter Biden received an administrative discharge from the navy, as reported by Reuters. And, Hunter Biden had plenty of jobs before his father became VP under Barack Obama — including, but not limited to working for the U.S. Department of Commerce, the lobbying firm Oldaker, Biden & Belair, and the lobbying firm National Group LLP, as well as serving as a board member and vice chair at AMTRAK—all jobs and positions held between the years of 1996 and 2009.
Because facts and truths are good. But as we know, facts and truths aren’t things Trump tends to bother with—especially if they get in the way of his vile attacks.
And the other truth is this. Hunter Biden is flawed. Hunter Biden has faced addiction—something 20 million other Americans face as well. And if you ask his dad, he’ll agree. In fact, he’ll even say that he, Joe Biden, has flaws too. And they, as well as the rest of the Bidens, will own their mistakes and take responsibility for their behavior.
But none of them will mock another person’s struggles. And none of them will insult their fellow Americans who have served in our nation’s military. Because they are actually a truly presidential family. And they know that supporting our men and women who serve and supporting those who fight the disease of addiction isn’t a partisan issue, but rather something all Americans do, from both sides of the aisle.
So that’s it. That’s the “dirt” on Hunter Biden’s military service, which isn’t really a scandal at all. It’s a story about loss and pain and addiction and recovery, which Americans in every city in every state face. Americans who look to the White House for leadership and for help, but who, for the past four years, have found none.