The separation actually took place in February, according to multiple media reports this morning, but for some reason didn’t emerge until now. That’s a little ironic, given that Hunter Biden’s job with the US Navy Reserve was a public-relations official. The 44-year-old son of the Vice President had been commissioned as an ensign less than a year earlier, and had tested positive for cocaine the very next month:
Vice President Joe Biden ’s son Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve this year after testing positive for cocaine, according to people familiar with the matter.
Hunter Biden, a lawyer by training who is now a managing partner at an investment company, had been commissioned as an ensign in the Navy Reserve, a part-time position. But after failing a drug test last year, his brief military career ended.
Mr. Biden, 44 years old, decided to pursue military service relatively late, beginning the direct-commission process to become a public-affairs officer in the Navy Reserve in 2012. Because of his age—43 when he was to be commissioned—he needed a waiver to join the Navy. He received a second Navy waiver because of a drug-related incident when he was a young man, according to people familiar with the matter. Military officials say such drug waivers aren’t uncommon.
Mr. Biden was commissioned as an ensign on May 7, 2013, and assigned to Navy Public Affairs Support Element East in Norfolk, Va., a reserve unit, according to the Navy. In June 2013, after reporting to his unit in Norfolk, he was given a drug test, which turned up positive for cocaine, according to people familiar with the situation. Mr. Biden was discharged in February, the Navy said.
Biden fils didn’t dispute the report, although the statement released through his attorneys didn’t address the specifics of his “administrative discharge”:
In a statement released by his attorney, Biden did not give a reason for his discharge. He said he respected the Navy’s decision and was moving forward with his family’s support.
“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,” he said.
It’s unclear why this is just coming out now, eight months later. After all, the position works with the media, and Biden’s familial relationship would make this news, even if it’s not a terribly important story. In fact, the delay is really the only compelling part of what is at its heart an embarrassing personal episode involving a private citizen. After all, at 44, Joe Biden doesn’t have any responsibility for the actions of Hunter, and the discharge of a naval officer over drug use is not much of a story on its own.
On the other hand, the national media had a lot of fun recently with the brawl involving the Palins in Alaska, and none of them are officeholders either. J.R. Salzman wonders whether a double standard is in place:
Good question, although it’s possible that no one knew about it until the Wall Street Journal reported it last night. If we find out that other outlets had this story earlier and sat on it, that will make a pretty good story on its own. For now, though, other outlets have certainly picked it up from the WSJ, including CBS and CNN, so it’s clearly a story today, but should it really be? I’d say it should be just as much of a story as the “Bush daughters go nightclubbing” stories a decade ago, and those didn’t wait eight months to make headlines and generate commentary, if I recall correctly.