Biden allies worry Hunter’s indictment could strain the president’s 2024 focus

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WASHINGTON — During the period between his vice presidency and presidency, Joe Biden was often asked about the campaign he didn’t run. In explaining why he passed on a White House bid in 2016, Biden would describe how the death of his eldest son, Beau, weighed heavily on him and his family.

“No man or woman should announce for president of the United States unless they can look the public in the eye and say, ‘I promise you I am giving 100% of my attention and dedication to this effort,’” he said in a 2017 public appearance.

Biden has said he is committed to seeking a second term. But even as he ramps up his campaign, with new efforts to contrast his record in office with the positions of his would-be GOP rivals, people close to the president are increasingly worrried about how the legal troubles of his remaining son, Hunter, could divide his attention at a time when he needs to be fully focused on what’s expected to be a razor close election.

A distracted president, perhaps more prone to mistakes or missteps, is the political toll people close to Biden worry could hurt him in 2024 as his son faces at least one indictment and potentially trials in multiple jurisdictions stemming from his conduct during the height of his drug addiction. Biden himself now faces an impeachment inquiry as House Republicans seek to connect him to his son’s business interests, including with foreign entities.