US First Lady Jill Biden on Thursday defended her son Hunter against “cruel” attacks by Republicans, in a rare public intervention as President Joe Biden ramps up his reelection campaign.
The 72-year-old spoke out a day after a chaotic Congressional hearing at which a lawmaker brandished naked pictures of Hunter Biden, who has become a target for Republicans as they try to inflict damage on his father ahead of the November election.
“I think what they are doing to Hunter is cruel. And I’m really proud of how Hunter has rebuilt his life after addiction,” Jill Biden told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” talk show.
“You know, I love my son. And it’s hurt my grandchildren, and that’s what I’m so concerned about that. It’s affecting their lives as well.”
The comments marked a rare instance in which Jill Biden has spoken out publicly in defense of Hunter, who has a history of drug and addiction problems and faces a series of legal woes.
But the first lady has been taking an increasingly prominent role in the Democratic president’s campaign for a second term.
Republicans have launched an impeachment investigation into Joe Biden over allegations — for which they have provided no evidence — that he benefited from Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine and China.
Hunter Biden also faces federal tax charges, for which he was due to appear in court in Los Angeles on Thursday, and gun charges.
He made a surprise appearance Wednesday on Capitol Hill as two Republican-led House committees gathered to debate contempt resolutions, after he defied their subpoenas for closed-door testimony.
But Jill Biden laughed when asked about Republicans who branded them a “Biden crime family” during the hearing.
“Look at what the other side, the extremists, have turned this country into. I mean, we would never see things like that, say, 10 years ago,” she said.
Joe Biden has always strongly defended his only surviving son, whose mother and sister died in a car crash when Hunter was a toddler — Biden later married Jill.
Hunter Biden’s older brother Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.