Joe Biden's 2020 Hunter narrative is 'harder to make now,' New York Times reporter admits

Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty on Wednesday after his initial plea deal fell apart

New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker said Wednesday the previous statements President Biden has made about his son Hunter would be a "harder narrative to make" in light of the developments in his case. 

Baker was asked on MSNBC about Biden's remarks about his son's drug problems and overseas business dealings on the debate stage in 2020. MSNBC's Yasmin Vossoughian asked if it would be similar in 2024 if former President Trump again secured the GOP nomination.

"That is simply not true," Biden said during a presidential debate in 2020, after Trump accused Hunter of making a "fortune in Ukraine" and in China. "My son, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem. He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son."

Baker said Joe Biden as a candidate was able to "frame it successfully in 2020" as a story of his son overcoming addiction, but things had changed.

"I think now of course it’s been a few years since then, more information has come out, more allegations have been made," he said. "Many of which of course have not yet been proven or confirmed. I think that narrative is a little harder to make right now, and so for President Biden, it’s not just about a wayward son, but about whether or not he himself had something to do with his wayward son’s business dealings, and that’s still an open question."

Peter Baker on MSNBC

NYT White House correspondent Peter Baker joins MSNBC to discuss President Biden's public statements on his son.  (Screenshot/MSNBC)


Baker also noted a change in language from the White House's statement on President Biden's involvement in his son's business dealings. 

"The current president said that he never had even discussed business with his son. The White House press secretary this week changed that formulation a little bit to say he was never in business with his son. That’s a little bit different than what President Biden has said in the past. And we’ll see where it plays out," Baker continued. 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was pressed on the statement change on Wednesday and insisted that "nothing has changed."

Hunter Biden's plea deal fell apart during his court appearance on Wednesday morning, and he ended up pleading "not guilty" after federal prosecutors confirmed he was still under federal investigation. 

joe bidens 2020 hunter narrative is harder to make now new york times reporter admits

Hunter Biden arrives to a Federal Courthouse at the Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington, Delaware, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. (The Image Direct for Fox News Digital)


Judge Maryellen Noreika did not accept the plea agreement, questioning the constitutionality, specifically the diversion clause and the immunity Hunter Biden would receive.

Biden previously agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax, as part of plea deal to avoid jail time on a felony gun charge.

Jean-Pierre spoke briefly about the president's son during Wednesday's press briefing and said the Bidens support their son as he "continues to rebuild his life."

joe bidens 2020 hunter narrative is harder to make now new york times reporter admits

President Joe Biden speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

"Hunter Biden is a private citizen, and this was a personal matter for him. As we have said, the president, the first lady, they love their son and they support him as he continues to rebuild his life," Jean-Pierre said during Wednesday’s White House press briefing. 

"This case was handled independently, as all of you know, by the Justice Department under the leadership of a prosecutor appointed by the former president, President Trump," she said. "So for anything further, as you know, and we've been very consistent from here, I'd refer you to the Department of Justice and to Hunter's representatives, who is his legal team, obviously, who can address any of your questions." 

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Fox News' Brooke Singman, Jake Gibson and Greg Norman contributed to this report. 

Hanna Panreck is an associate editor at Fox News.

Authored by Hanna Panreck via FoxNews July 26th 2023