Their fathers are both United States presidents — but that’s where the similarities end between Hunter Biden, Donald Trump Jr, and Eric Trump. In his new memoir, Beautiful Things, Biden writes that he prides himself on forging his own path away from his famous family, unlike the Trumps, who have worked for their father’s corporation their entire lives. “I’ve worked for someone other than my father, rose and fell on my own,” Biden said.
Later in the memoir, Biden, 51, acknowledges that being the son of Joe Biden, a United States senator, then vice president, and now president, did provide him with opportunities likely not afforded to others. “There’s no question my last name was a coveted credential,” Hunter, an attorney, wrote. “That has always been the case — do you think if any of the Trump children ever tried to get a job outside of their father’s business that his name wouldn’t figure into the calculation? My response has always been to work harder so that my accomplishments stand on their own.”
The majority of Biden’s memoir is about his decades-long struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, and the love and compassion he received from his father and late brother, Beau Biden — and later, his wife, Melissa Cohen. Biden describes that, at his lowest point, he was so desperate to get his next hit that he would sometimes mistakenly smoke things he found on the floor.
“Half the time I had no idea what I was picking up: Is this a flake of parmesan from the cheese platter we ordered last night? Or crack? It didn’t matter: I smoked it,” Hunter wrote. “If it was crack, great. If it wasn’t, I’d take a hit, exhale, and exclaim: ‘Sh*t that’s not it — that’s the f**king cheese!” He considers the period after his brother’s death from brain cancer in 2015 as his rock bottom. At one point, the entire Biden family staged an intervention for him at his father’s Delaware home amid the 2020 presidential race.
After storming out of the 2019 intervention, his father and daughters, Naomi and Maisy, attempted to stop him from getting into his car. The elder Biden chased him down the driveway and “grabbed me in a hug. He grabbed me, gave a bear hug, and he said –- and just cried and said, ‘I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. Please,'” Hunter wrote. He stated in a recent CBS This Morning interview that this was the “hardest part of the book to write.”
He credits wife Melissa for helping him finally get sober. One week after they met, which Melissa had spent helping him detox, Hunter proposed. He wrote about their first date in Beautiful Things, describing Melissa as having “bottomless” blue eyes. It was an instant connection. “‘I know this probably isn’t a good way to start a first date, but I’m in love with you,’” Biden said almost immediately after meeting her. “An hour later, Melissa said she was in love with me.”
The couple married a short while later. When he told his father the surprising engagement news, he was incredibly supportive: “‘Thank you,’ my dad told Melissa, his voice soft and warm and welcoming, ‘for giving my boy the courage to love again.’”