In Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Ernest,” the main character’s search for his true name comes to a head when he finally demands “would you kindly inform me who I am?” In an astonishing filing this week, Hunter Biden answered that question for his four-year-old daughter Navy Joan and effectively declared “you are no Biden.”
Hunter Biden’s disgraceful treatment of his daughter has long been on display in Arkansas where he long denied being her father, fought paternity, and was threatened with contempt of court over his failure to supply needed documents. After DNA testing was forced by a court, Hunter was found to be the father but he continued to resist efforts to force him to pay child support and supply financial records.
Recently, Lunden Roberts sought to have a surname change for her daughter to Biden. Even after his long and abusive treatment of his daughter in court, Hunter Biden’s opposition is breathtaking. He opposes his daughter using his name and says that, if she does, she will never have a “peaceful existence.”
Of course, Biden did not feel that way with his other four children. They are all true Bidens and living peaceful existences. It is only Navy Joan who he does not want to bear the family name.
Hunter’s concern for Navy Joan’s peaceful existence is a bit odd since he has reportedly never even seen his daughter after fighting for years to deny his paternal status and child support.
While living in a luxurious mansion in Malibu, Hunter continued to fight his obligations under child support and requested in September 2022 to have the payments lowered, bemoaning how his “financial circumstances” were difficult for him. The public pays more for his security in his mansion than he does in monthly support for his daughter.
Hunter is asking Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer to deny Navy Joan the ability to use her father’s surname and claiming that it is in her best interest. The filing is so self-serving and transparently dishonest that it does what was once thought impossible: reach a new low for Hunter. All of his reported selfies having sex and doing drugs with prostitutes were shocking. His attacks on his former sister-in-law, Hallie Biden, widow of the deceased brother (with whom Hunter later had a romantic relationship), were appalling. However, the craven effort to deny this child his name reaches a level of cad that stands unrivaled.
The position of Hunter in court has been disgraceful, but the media has largely ignored the matter. It has also ignored the utter lack of support from President Joe Biden and the First Lady, who tellingly omitted a stocking for Navy Joan as one of their grandchildren. (The dog and cat did receive stockings). There is no record that Joe or Jill Biden have ever sought to meet, let alone embrace, their grandchild. The President has, however, sought to deny the child security protection (despite his son’s concern for her “peaceful existence”).
Joe Biden has long campaigned against “deadbeat Dads” but when a Fox reporter asked about Hunter’s refusal to pay child support, President Biden snapped at him and refused to answer the question on the “personal matter.” (The media also ignored Hunter’s deadbeat dad record in fawning interviews about this “bravery” in writing a book on his life).
The obvious effort of the Biden family in this filing is to preserve distance from this child. The legal standard for a name change in Arkansas has been based on the “best interests of the child,” not the political interest of the father and his family. Indeed, historically, Arkansas courts followed a presumption in favor of a child have the surname of its father.
More recently, the Arkansas Supreme Court in Huffman v. Fisher laid out various factors to balance including (1) the child’s preference; (2) the effect on the child’s relationship with each parent; (3) the length of time that the child has borne the prior surname; (4) the community respect for the rivaling surnames; (5) the social difficulties that could arise from the adoption of the new surname; and (6) the presence of any parental misconduct or neglect.
The petition is based on the best interest of the child. Roberts’ lawyer claims that the Biden name is “now synonymous with being well educated, successful, financially acute, and politically powerful.” The “financially acute” part did jump out for many of us who have followed Hunter Biden’s scandals for years. The Bidens have certainly made themselves wealthy during Joe Biden’s time in office. However, they are synonymous not with financial acuity but influence peddling. While influence peddling has long been the leading industry in Washington, the Bidens have long taken it to levels unimagined by other powerful families with millions in windfall payments from foreign sources, including some connected to foreign intelligence operations.
Nevertheless, the child is clearly better off with the Biden surname, particularly in establishing the very connection that Hunter, Joe, and Jill Biden seem committed to conceal or ignore. Navy Joan is the grandchild of the 47th President of the United States. That alone makes the change beneficial. Navy Joan will be able to benefit from the cache of that connection in applying to college, seeking employment, and other pursuits. It also establishes (despite the efforts of the Bidens) that she is part of the family’s legacy.
Joe Biden often talks about his Irish roots and his family tree. The familial legacy also includes Navy Joan. Those are her relatives even if they refuse to recognize or embrace her.
There is no real doubt about the best interests of his child in his filing. For their part, the Bidens have made it clear what is in their best interest. It is not this child. The court should make fast work of this petition and change Navy Joan’s surname to Biden. That will not make the family more loving or supportive or accepting. She will have to eventually deal emotionally with this latest effort to conceal her true identity.
Yet, she is a Biden and could easily prove the best of the lot.