It was the fall of 2014 and Tucker Carlson needed a favor. Not yet a household name, the Fox News commentator and heir to a frozen-dinner fortune wanted some help getting his son Buckley into Georgetown University, so he and his wife reached out to their neighbor Hunter Biden, the son of then-Vice-President Joe Biden.
“He loves Washington for all the right reasons, I think,” Carlson wrote to Hunter Biden in emails confirmed by a forensic analysis conducted by the Washington Post. Carlson told his friend that his son was good at squash. He told him that his son liked to fly-fish. His wife wrote that she and her husband “have the greatest respect and admiration for you.” Biden said that although he did not know Buckley, he would write a letter to the president of his alma mater, adding that he would “do anything you would like me to do.”
The days of respect and admiration are over. During the 2020 election, Carlson began criticizing Hunter on-air for trading on the Biden name in his business dealings, though years earlier he had tried to do the same thing on his son’s behalf (albeit on a much smaller scale). The Fox News host has even attacked the president’s son for his personal struggles. Though Carlson has occasionally expressed his empathy toward Hunter, he has also referred to him on his program as a “crackhead,” and he remarked in February that “when Hunter Biden smokes crack, he does so in style,” while introducing coverage of the Biden administration’s drug policies.
The Biden-Carlson emails were first published in December 2021 and have now been verified by the Washington Post. When asked about the exchange by the paper, Carlson acknowledged, as he has on his show, that he was once friendly with Hunter.
“Hunter Biden was my neighbor. Our wives were friends. I knew him well. I talked to him many times about addiction, something I know a lot about,” Carlson said. “And I’ve said that. I think that Hunter Biden is an addict and that’s why his life is falling apart, and I feel bad for him. I’ve said that many times, and I mean it.”
But he also took the opportunity to make fun of the mainstream media’s coverage of the Hunter Biden scandal, saying he would not comment on the contents of the emails themselves.
“I can’t confirm these emails. The emails that you’re referring to were described by our intel community as Russian disinformation,” he said, adding that he doesn’t have access to the account so could not verify the emails. “So why would I? And I read that in the Washington Post.”
Carlson was referring to the media’s initial hesitance to engage with stories purportedly based on the contents of what Donald Trump dubbed Hunter’s “laptop from hell” in the final weeks of the 2020 election. At the time, more than 50 former senior intelligence officials signed a letter saying stories based on the emails had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Earlier this year, the Post reported that thousands of the emails were authentic, but the bulk of the data from a portable hard drive said to contain a copy of the laptop’s contents could not be verified, as it “had been repeatedly accessed and copied by people other than Hunter Biden over nearly three years.” The laptop has been seized by federal officials, who have been investigating Hunter’s business dealings since 2018.
While the Biden-Carlson exchange may ultimately prove to be one of the least scandalous stories to emerge from the laptop saga, it does reveal the extent to which Carlson is willing to lambast the inner workings of the “ruling class” on-air while tapping into the very same networks in his private life.
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