July 19, 2024

First Lady Jill Biden only missed one day of her son Hunter Biden’s federal gun charges trial when she traveled to France to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day with the president.

She attended court on Wednesday before jetting off to Normandy and was back at the federal building in Wilmington, Delaware by Friday morning.

And she isn’t the only one, President Biden’s youngest son was surrounded by family members each day of his trial until the very end.

Hunter walked hand-in-hand with his glamorous wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, into the building every morning before court and out every afternoon. His sister Ashley Biden, aunt Valerie Biden, uncle James Biden and maternal aunt Bonny Jacobs have all shown up. His daughter Naomi Biden was also present, albeit in her capacity as a witness for the defense.

The rallying around by the first family is notable, even as painfully intimate and at times embarrassing details have emerged in testimony about the fallout from Hunter’s addiction to crack cocaine.

First Lady Dr Jill Biden arrives to attend her son Hunter Biden’s trial at US Federal District Court in Wilmington, Delaware on June 7, 2024
First Lady Dr Jill Biden arrives to attend her son Hunter Biden’s trial at US Federal District Court in Wilmington, Delaware on June 7, 2024 (EPA)

During Naomi Biden’s testimony about the strain her father’s addiction put on their relationship, members of the Biden family held hands and at times, some broke down in tears.

After Biden was found guilty, he walked out of the courthouse, remaining hand-in-hand with his mother and wife.

The symbolic show of loyalty has drawn particular scrutiny for the fact that it was preceded by another headline-grabbing criminal trial: the hush money case brought against Donald Trump.

For much of the former president’s six-week trial in New York, he attended the Manhattan criminal courthouse without family, surrounded only by lawyers and a rotating cast of political allies.

Donald Trump Jr, Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Trump attend closing arguments of their father’s criminal trial in New York
Donald Trump Jr, Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Trump attend closing arguments of their father’s criminal trial in New York (POOL/AFP/Getty)

Many of the Trump family distanced themselves from the trial. Donald Trump Jr showed up for the first time as the defense was resting its case. Tiffany Trump and her husband Michael Boulos appeared briefly for closing arguments.

Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner never showed. The only public acknowledgment that she made of her father’s conviction was an Instagram story post featuring a childhood photo of her with him, and the caption: “I love you dad.”

Eric Trump was the sole family member to attend the trial regularly, and the only one standing behind his father in court when the guilty verdict was handed down by the jury. He was the only familial hand that the former president reached out to shake while leaving the courthouse that day.

A court sketch of former president Donald Trump, right, shaking his son Eric Trump's hand as he walks out of the courtroom in Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30
A court sketch of former president Donald Trump, right, shaking his son Eric Trump’s hand as he walks out of the courtroom in Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30 (AP)

The other notable missing figure from the Trump world was former first lady, Melania Trump.

Her absence was palpable in the courtroom when adult film star Stormy Daniels gave testimony about her alleged affair with Trump when he was already married to Melania.

The affair with Daniels was central to the case in which Trump was found guilty of falsifying 34 business records. During her testimony, Daniels revealed how she and the former president engaged in a one-night-stand, and that he told her he did not sleep in the same room as Melania who had recently given birth to their son, Barron. Trump has denied the affair.

Hunter’s wife Melissa has also had to listen to the difficult testimony of her husband’s ex-girlfriends – but from before they were married in 2019. This has included his former sister-in-law Hallie Biden, who testified about his reckless behavior while addicted to crack cocaine.

Hunter Biden walks with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden into federal court in Wilmington, Delaware
Hunter Biden walks with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden into federal court in Wilmington, Delaware (REUTERS)

She is fiercely defensive of her husband, at one point yelling at a former Trump aide in attendance in the hallway, calling him a “Nazi piece of s***”. The former aide and Biden are involved in a lawsuit regarding Biden’s laptop which has been used as evidence at his gun charges trial.

Trump’s family was also defensive during his trial but centered their ire on the justice system, repeating the false claims of their father. Eric Trump called the trial “political warfare” while Donald Trump Jr called the trial “a witch hunt.”

The Biden family appears to have taken a more measured approach. President Joe Biden said he would not pardon his son and accepted the guilty verdict for what it is.

Joe Biden’s siblings, Valerie Biden and James Biden arrive for Hunter Biden’s trial on June 10
Joe Biden’s siblings, Valerie Biden and James Biden arrive for Hunter Biden’s trial on June 10 (EPA)

But he also added: “So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery… Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that.”

Recent polling indicates that voters are unconcerned with the outcome of Trump’s criminal trial when it comes to how they cast their ballot in November. It remains unclear if Hunter Biden’s verdict will affect his father’s re-election campaign.

But with so much public attention on both, especially in an election year, the high-profile clans have sent a message to Americans about showing up in times of difficulty.

The family presence, or lack thereof, raises a fair question: if your family won’t support you in times of crisis, who will?