For her entire life, Navy Joan Roberts has been “she who must not be named.” There is no evidence that her father has ever visited her, let alone held her. Her grandparents repeatedly denied her existence and said that they had only “four granddaughters.” They even gave their dogs stockings at Christmas rather than Navy, who never even bit one let alone a score of Secret Service agents. As even Democrats began to voice their own shock at the cruelty of the First Couple shunning this child, the Bidens finally relented and recognized her existence, but only barely so. They now admit that they have seven grandchildren and five (not four) granddaughters.
Pressed by Fox News, the White House issued this statement:
“Our son Hunter and Navy’s mother, Lunden, are working together to foster a relationship that is in the best interests of their daughter, preserving her privacy as much as possible going forward. This is not a political issue, it’s a family matter. Jill and I only want what is best for all of our grandchildren, including Navy.”
Even for those of us who merely followed this saga from the beginning, the statement was maddening and frankly insulting. It suggested that there was some reason, until now, that prevented the Bidens from acknowledging the existence of their fifth granddaughter. The suggestion was pushed further by CNN, which cited the resolution of “a protracted and bitter court proceeding over child support.” That is false. There was no legal, or even tactical, reason for the refusal of the First Couple to acknowledge Navy for four years.
Navy and her mother sought that recognition and the Bidens refused. How was that in the “best interests” of this child? Were they fostering a relationship when they gave the German Shepherds stockings at Christmas but not their grandchild?
Moreover, Hunter has not been “working together” with Lunden for the best interests of his daughter. He has been a callous cad throughout this process, consistently putting his own interests ahead of his child.
Hunter refused to admit that he was Navy’s father for years until forced to accept the results of a court-ordered DNA test. He then fought child support and even her use of the name Biden. He was threatened repeatedly with contempt of court over his obstruction in the litigation in Arkansas. The statement that he has been working together with Lunden is insulting to anyone who has followed these court proceedings, let alone their granddaughter.
In June, Hunter settled the Arkansas child support case on the condition that Lunden agreed to withdraw her request to change their child’s last name to “Biden.”
Washington is a hard town. I have lived and worked here for decades and I am still amazed by the cold calculations of many in this city. Long-standing values and associations are routinely jettisoned for personal advantage. Here the moral strictures of the rest of the nation are flipped; vice is a virtue and integrity is a weakness.
Yet, even in this place of utter personal corruption, the Bidens shocked the local population. It was not their millions in influence peddling. The Bidens are standouts but hardly unique in that form of corruption. It is not the President’s obvious lies about his knowledge and ties to his son’s foreign dealings. Truth is as relative in Washington as loyalty in this city. However, few have the stomach for how the Bidens treated this little girl. The Bidens spent more time fretting over the “pressure” of the White House on Major and Commander than they did the emotional impact on a four-year-old child who was prevented from even calling herself a Biden.
So what changed after four years to compel this passing recognition in a press statement? It was not the litigation. There was never any legal reason not to recognize their granddaughter since it was confirmed by DNA and court order. It was not any sudden request of the child or her mother. They have been asking for years for such recognition.
It was more likely the disgust expressed even by Democrats that this is simply wrong. The President is about to head out on the campaign trail and had no answer to that objection. In other words, for the First Couple, it is a political not a family matter. If it were the latter, they would have done the decent thing years ago.
Of course, the President cannot go into his loving account of how his granddaughter is “a talker” and playful (like his German Shepherd) because he has never bothered to meet her.
That is now a matter for this little girl to contemplate as she gets older. However, whatever the impetus of the sudden recognition of Navy’s existence, it was not any legal cause. The First Couple was free to do the decent thing at any time over the last four years. They simply did not find it in their “best interest” to do so.
This column also appeared on Fox.com