After the New York Post planted an I.E.D. on the election this week, printing a tranche of messy e-mails and even messier photos allegedly retrieved from Hunter Biden’s old hard drive (which, according to the Post, had somehow fallen into the clutches of Rudy Giuliani), the D.C. press corps agonized over best practices.
Let the bores in Washington and soulless Silicon Valley worry about the ethics of reprinting oppo research, or what First Amendment implications may arise from the Twitter ban (since lifted) of the Post article. In New York media, the pictures of Hunter—tweaked out, shirtless, smooching a crack pipe, sucking down a cigarette, posing in blurry mirror shots—were hot, hot, hot.
This was the week Hunter officially became the full-on Tara Reid of American politics. And the whippersnappers who run your favorite magazines—nearly all of them disillusioned, die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters—at last found something to like about lame old Uncle Joe. Namely, his son.
“Sorry, but Hunter Biden rules,” tweeted GQ culture writer Gabriella Paiella. “The only cool thing about the Democratic party.” Rolling Stone’s Ej Dickson concurred: “I’m sorry, why are people shrieking about Hunter Biden for reasons other than he’s hot. this news cycle is hot people erasure and i’m sick of it.” Even The New Yorker joined in, with Naomi Fry, the title’s resident cool girl, tweeting: “get Hunter in the White House. the president having a hot troubled son is a net positive in my book.”
Fry actually had a point. Former Biden staffers loved Hunter for his fierce loyalty in the most disloyal place on earth, sticking up for his father whenever Obama people dissed the veep in the press, which was often. Yes, Hunter was seen as problematic—that he shacked up for a stint with his late brother’s widow was so Jack and Bobby—but sweet and truehearted. And relatable. Who among us hasn’t failed a drug test at least once, as Hunter did when he was discharged from the navy because there was some blow in his system.
This was the week Hunter officially became the full-on Tara Reid of American politics.
Steven Phillips-Horst, a comedian who writes a column for Interview, re-created Hunter’s leaked pics, posing naked in the bathtub with a cig hanging out of his mouth. Caption: “Just vibes.” Someone tweeting under the name “K Hole Ocasio-Cortez from Bushwick, PhD 2.0” replied instantly, effectively calling him a poseur.
Friday, the Post printed more gems from Hunter’s vault. Texting with a pal in 2018, Hunter writes that he’s at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, “partying like an idiot ass rock star.”
While editors in D.C. cautioned their reporters not to touch the New York Post story with a 10-foot pole, the voices out of New York sounded more like Will Ferrell’s Mugatu: “Hunter, so hot right now.”
Dean Kissick, the New York editor of the art magazine Spike, expounded upon the allure of the bedeviled young Biden. “At Lucien the crowd passes around a picture of Hunter Biden’s penis,” Kissick wrote, referring to the terminally cool East Village bistro. “Hunter is popular with the Downtown set because he has sex with our friends, lets our friends paint him naked, tells our friends that in his heart he feels like an artist. That’s a difference between the two candidates: one raised an art collector, the other an artist.”
Earlier this year, Hunter let a reporter with The New York Times into his art studio off Mulholland Drive. Painting, he said, “is literally keeping me sane. For years I wouldn’t call myself an artist. Now I feel comfortable saying it.”
Kissick, who was unable to provide AIR MAIL with a copy of Hunter’s dick pics, explained that “I think I’m just one or two people away from him in a chain, and I think that’s probably true of quite a lot of people here. Whereas I’m probably not that far from someone who has sold work to Ivanka Trump, but I never hear any kind of social stories about Ivanka. I’d imagine most downtown New York kids are quite removed from her social circle.”
The American people are tired of Ivanka. Her vanilla, daughter-wife Madewell Instagram dreckitude is so weak. She hasn’t done anything interesting since 2003, when that Johnson & Johnson heir put her in a documentary about rich kids. This age of political trash and nihilism deserves a better First Child. Who doesn’t love a hot, tortured, slutty soul, from Dorian Gray to Anna Karenina and Lindsay Lohan?
Sure, there are also rumors of dirty money and alleged Ukraine side deals to the Hunter story. But are his casino games any slimier than the financial antics of the Trump spawn? Eric and Don Jr. drag the Secret Service on business trips around the globe, costing the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars. China cozied up to Ivanka by granting her lifestyle brand, since kaput, precious trademarks. Jared Kushner is an actual slumlord. The Trump sons hurt big game, like elephants, for fun. Self-destructive Hunter only hurts himself.
Besides, who can’t relate to feeling, at one point or another, like one giant lovable fuckup and embarrassment to their father? The next Quinnipiac poll oughta ask.
Shawn McCreesh is a Washington, D.C.–based writer