Every week, Washington is reminded that Hunter Biden is still a major story. Republicans work every day to keep it that way, and Democrats roll their eyes and ignore it. Establishment media wearily bats away the latest details squeezed out of anonymous whistleblowers speaking to Congress, waiting for something significant to break.
Last week, that moment exploded into view as the new details of Hunter's story, and the president's response, made it impossible to ignore.
The president's son pleaded guilty to federal tax offenses and avoided prosecution for illegally possessing a firearm. When reporters asked the president to respond, he simply replied, "I'm proud of my son."
It was a different Biden from five days earlier when he berated a reporter for asking why a Ukraine FBI informant file referred to the president as "the Big Guy."
“Why’d you ask such a dumb question?” Biden snapped.
Details of a FBI form were publicly revealed where a top Ukrainian Burisma executive reportedly told his source that he "didn’t pay the Big Guy directly," referring to Biden.
Hunter may have admitted his wrongdoing, but the Biden family's in-your-face response only raised more questions.
A tuxedo-clad Hunter Biden arrived at the White House for a state dinner hosted for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was not content to skulk in the corners, but rather made his way through the crowd shaking hands with the hundreds of elite guests in the room flashing a gleaming white smile that had replaced his formerly crack-rotted teeth.
The following morning, details of a message from Hunter to his business partner in China surfaced, revealing he was "sitting with his father" and demanded payment, warning of his ability to "forever hold a grudge." It was the language of a crime family.
Even more shocking was Hunter's lawyer not denying details of the story, insisting that his client was in the throes of drug addiction when it happened.
The Biden family's audaciousness was just enough to shake a few more White House reporters out of their malaise.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond questioned White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, "If Hunter Biden wasn’t the President’s son, would he have invited someone who had just reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors two days earlier to the dinner?"
Jean-Pierre refused to comment on the story, noting that Hunter was the president's son and a family member, and it was "not uncommon" to have family attend state dinners.
Newsmax correspondent James Rosen, a familiar irritant to Biden officials, read the text of Hunter's strong-arming message out loud in an effort to get NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby to respond.
"Let me save you some breath. If you’re going to ask about this, I am not address ..." Kirby began.
"I have an abundance of breath, as you know," Rosen quipped.
"I don’t — I know you do, more than I’d like you to have," Kirby replied. "I am not going to address this issue from this podium. I’m just not going to do it."
Later in the briefing, New York Times reporter Peter Baker asked why the president's press secretary refused to address the question.
"Are you going to answer the question?" Baker asked. "I mean, it’s not — I mean, not an unreasonable question to ask if the president of the United States was involved, as this message seems to suggest, in some sort of a coercive conversation for business dealings by his son. Is that something — if he wasn’t, then maybe you should tell us."
Jean-Pierre refused, deploying her common but audacious assertion that she had answered the question by refusing comment, even as a protesting Stephen Nelson from the New York Post tried to get an answer.
CBS reporter Weijia Jiang jumped in: "To follow up on my colleague, is there anything that you can say with regard to this text message and what the President’s son was alleging? Was the President there or not?"
Jean-Pierre continued stonewalling and refusing to answer questions about the story, and even said she would not speak to the president about whether he was with Hunter that day.
For years, Biden's staff knew that questions about Hunter were considered off-limits for the Big Guy.
“Everyone who works for him has been screamed at,” a former adviser told The New Yorker in 2019, when asked about how they approached Hunter.
Reporters are again finally asking more questions, but the Biden response remains the same. And the president will not change until everyone holds him and his family accountable.
Some of the most saccharine journalists, however, see an opportunity to cozy up to the president, knowing of his declaration that his son Hunter is his "heart."
"It isn't about presidential corruption but a determined parent battling his son's addiction with unconditional love," columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times.
"The View's" Ana Navarro voiced a similar argument. "The Hunter Biden story, the scandal, the this, the that, it’s also a story of a father’s love, and Joe Biden has never and will never give up on his son Hunter and will never treat him lesser than. He is a father first. Take it or leave it. That’s who he is. That is part of his heart," she said on air.
Hunter continued making his presence with his father known over the weekend as President Biden let him tag along. Hunter paraded in front of the cameras again Saturday as he traveled to Camp David aboard Marine One. Wearing a red backpack and the same aviator sunglasses as his dad, Hunter shot a glance at reporters as he boarded the helicopter.
The message? I'm still here.
Charlie Spiering is a Wyoming native who now works in Washington, D.C., where he continues writing about the White House, Congress and national politics. A former writer for Breitbart News, The Washington Examiner and columnist Robert Novak, Spiering frequently returns home to the family farm in Powell to escape the insanity of Washington.