Politics

7 of the biggest scandals involving presidential kids

President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden in 2022.Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Amy Carter was a rebellious first kid — she frequently participated in political protests and was dismissed from Brown for failing to finish her coursework.

amy carter is arrested in 1985

Amy Carter, the daughter of former President Jimmy Carter, is arrested for protesting in front of the South African Embassy in Washington, DC, against apartheid in 1985.Jim Hubbard/Getty Images

Amy Carter, the daughter of former President Jimmy Carter, was only 9 years old when her father was elected, and only 13 when he lost his reelection in 1980. However, throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, Amy Carter became a well-known activist for a number of political causes … and even had a few run-ins with the law during that time.

The New York Times reported that 17-year-old Carter was arrested in 1985 during an anti-apartheid demonstration at the South African embassy in Washington, DC, though she claimed she was “acting with her father’s permission.”

Amy Carter was one of more than 1,500 people in a three-month span to be taken into custody near the embassy during protests against South Africa’s apartheid policy, the LA Times reported. President Jimmy Carter’s son Chip was also demonstrating at the embassy that day, although he was not arrested.

Amy Carter was arrested again in 1987 during an anti-CIA demonstration, though she and 14 other protesters were acquitted of trespassing and disorderly conduct, The New York Times reported. While her political activism certainly made headlines, Carter’s rebellious nature also led to her removal from Brown University over “academic reasons” in 1987.

The Washington Post also reported that “reliable sources” informed the Providence Journal-Bulletin that following Carter’s sophomore year, she was asked not to return after failing to finish her coursework. Carter went on to pursue a master’s degree in art history at Tulane University in New Orleans, where she met her first husband, computer consultant James Wentzel. They later divorced, and she married John Joseph “Jay” Kelly in 2007. They share another son, Errol Carter Kelly. She has since kept a relatively low profile.

Neil Bush, the son of President George H.W. Bush, was sued after being accused of engaging in conflicts of interest in the ’90s, which effectively ended his hope for a political career.

neil bush testifying before the house baking committee

Neil Bush, son of President Bush, testifies before the House Banking Committee in 1990.Bettman/Getty Images

Federal regulators sued Neil Bush, the third-eldest son of George H.W. Bush, in 1990 for alleged “conflict-of-interest regulations” and, as a director of Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan Association, allegedly failing to act to stop the institution from making improper and even illegal loans. The company’s collapse in 1988 cost taxpayers over $1 billion, the Denver Post reported. Other former employees, such as directors, officers, and lawyers, were also named in the lawsuit, according to the New York Times.

Bush was not indicted on any criminal charges, although he agreed to pay $50,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

“I happened to be one of hundreds of other American businessmen and women who served as an outside director on the board of a savings and loan institution that failed during the 1980s,” Bush wrote in an email to The Washington Post in 2003. “I regret that the institution’s failure cost taxpayers so much money.”

Today, Bush chairs the board of directors at foundations including Points of Light, a philanthropic group his father founded.

As a 19-year-old college student, President George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush was cited for two alcohol-related misdemeanors in a five-week span.

barbara and jenna bush attend the inaugural ball in 2001

Barbara and Jenna Bush attend the Florida Presidential Inaugural Ball at the National Building Museum on January 20, 2001.Pool Photo/Getty Images

Jenna Bush and her twin sister, Barbara, were the talk of the town in the early 2000s, though it wasn’t always for the right reasons. In 2001, while Jenna Bush was a freshman at the University of Texas, the first daughter was cited for two alleged underage drinking offenses: possession of alcohol as a minor and later trying to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol at an Austin restaurant.

The incidents occurred within a five-week span and were minor misdemeanors, though they also inevitably made national headlines. Bush, who pleaded no contest to the possession of alcohol charge, was ordered to pay $51.25 in court costs, serve eight hours of community service, and attend six hours of alcohol awareness classes. After she also pleaded no contest to trying to use someone else’s ID for alcohol, her driver’s license was suspended for 30 days, and she had to pay a total of $600, The Associated Press reported.

“I felt embarrassed, and I felt really badly for [my dad] because I thought this is going to make him look bad,” Bush, now Jenna Bush Hager, told “Today” show host Hoda Kotb in March 2020. “He apologized to me because what we wanted more than anything was to just be normal college kids … He said, ‘I’m sorry. I promised you you could be normal, and this isn’t normal.'”

Though the drinking charges were front-page news at the time, Bush Hager says she can now laugh about it.

“Everybody knows I had a fake ID, which was really naive because my dad was president,” Bush Hager said on “Today.” “I tried. I tried and failed. A girl that was in my school was like, ‘We look a lot alike; I’ll give you my ID.’ That was dumb.”

Jenna Bush’s twin sister, Barbara, was also cited for possession of alcohol as a minor in the second incident.

Barbara Bush at fashion week in 2003

Barbara Bush attends fashion week in 2003.Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic/Getty Images

While Jenna Bush made headlines for two underage-drinking-related citations, her twin sister, Barbara, was also ticketed for alleged possession of alcohol during the second incident. Police claimed that Barbara Bush, who had just finished her freshman year at Yale University, and a third woman were served alcohol at an Austin restaurant, The Washington Post reported.

Authorities alleged that Jenna Bush attempted to use false identification to purchase alcohol but was denied, though it was unclear whether Barbara and the third woman were asked to produce identification.

Barbara Bush pleaded no contest to the possession-of-alcohol charge in June 2001 and was ordered to complete eight hours of community service, attend an alcohol-awareness class, and pay $100 in court fines, The Associated Press reported at the time. The underage drinking charge was to be wiped from her record, the AP reported.

Malia Obama was criticized after screenshots of a video were posted online showing the Harvard University freshman smoking.

Malia Obama

Barack Obama and Malia Obama.Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Malia Obama found herself in hot water in 2017 after a video online appeared to show her smoking and blowing smoke rings. According to the Independent, conservative news site The Daily Caller wrote an article about the video, which led to public criticism about the former first daughter. However, fellow first kids Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton quickly came to Obama’s defense, calling for her and other presidential children’s right to privacy.

“Malia Obama should be allowed the same privacy as her school-aged peers,” Trump tweeted, according to Time. “She is a young adult and private citizen, and should be OFF limits.”

Chelsea Clinton also offered her support to Obama, writing, “Malia Obama’s private life, as a young woman, a college student, a private citizen, should not be your clickbait. Be better.”

Donald Trump Jr. has been embroiled in scandal multiple times.

Donald Trump Jr. speaks.

Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump, speaks during a Republican National Committee Victory Rally in January 2021.Alex Wong/Getty Images

Though Donald Trump Jr. never held an official position in his father’s administration, he has nevertheless been a subject of controversy and public ire.

More than a decade before his father entered the White House, Trump Jr. was arrested in 2001 for public drunkenness during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana.

He also later came under fire for a 2016 tweet aimed at Syrian Refugees, in which he posted an image that had the text, “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

He commented, saying, “This image says it all. Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first. #trump2016.” The post received so much backlash that a Skittles executive even posted its own statement.

“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people,” said Denise Young, vice president of corporate affairs for Wrigley America, which owns Skittles. “We don’t feel it is an appropriate analogy.”

In 2019, Trump Jr. faced criticism for his hunting practices. On a trip to Mongolia, the politician’s son hunted an endangered breed of sheep and later met with Mongolia’s president. He was awarded a permit to hunt the sheep after he had already killed it, according to ProPublica.

Trump Jr. traveled with the Secret Service, costing taxpayers more than $75,000 for the eight-day excursion, according to documents obtained by a government watchdog group. USA Today reported that, according to a source close to the president’s son, Trump Jr. paid for all of the trip himself apart from the security.

Trouble continued for Don even after his father left office. Trump Jr., along with his father and Ivanka Trump, were subpoenaed in January 2022 as part of a wide-ranging civil investigation by the New York attorney general into whether there was fraud within the Trump Organization.

However, while it was ordered that the Trumps would testify by March 10, 2022, as originally ordered by a Manhattan judge, their testimony was delayed while their lawyers appealed the judge’s order, according to a report by Business Insider. Trump, Don, and Ivanka eventually sat for depositions in August 2022.

In September 2022, Trump Jr., along with his father, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and the Trump Organization, were sued by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

At a news conference at the time, James said Trump “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to further enrich himself and cheat the system” and “repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization,” Business Insider reported. They have denied all wrongdoing.

In November 2023, Trump Jr. testified in the civil trial, praising his father’s properties as “spectacular.”

“For four decades, the Trump Organization has set new standards of excellence,” he said.

The trial is ongoing.

Hunter Biden was indicted on nine new tax charges in December 2023.

Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden in 2016.Kris Connor/WireImage/Getty Images

In a court filing on June 20, prosecutors in the US Attorney’s office in Delaware said that Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden had agreed to plead guilty to two criminal counts for failing to pay income tax.

Prosecutors also brought a charge against Biden for being in possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance. Biden has spoken about his struggles with substance abuse and wrote about his drug use in his 2021 memoir, “Beautiful Things.”

The New York Times reported that the investigation started as an inquiry into Hunter Biden’s taxes, though it expanded in 2018 to include possible criminal violations of tax laws, foreign lobbying rules, and possible money laundering.

Biden has previously said he handled his tax affairs “legally and appropriately,” and the Times reported in March 2022 that he had “paid off a significant tax liability,” which experts said could make it harder for tax-related offenses to stick.

In 2020, President Donald Trump attempted to launch his own inquiry into Biden’s involvement with Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company.

Questioning over Biden’s dealings with the company, and whether Biden used his political connections for financial gain, shed a negative light on his father’s campaign and became a talking point for Trump seeking reelection. Both Bidens denied any wrongdoing in dealings with Ukraine and other countries.

In December 2023, Hunter Biden was charged with an additional nine charges in a new federal lawsuit filed in California after a special counsel investigation. They include three counts of evasion of a tax assessment, three counts of failure to file and pay taxes, and three counts of filing a false or fraudulent tax return.

Three of the charges are felonies and six are misdemeanors, centered around the years 2016 through 2019, during which time Hunter Biden allegedly owed $1.4 million in taxes. Federal prosecutors alleged that he spent “millions” on an extravagant lifestyle, including strippers, drugs, luxury hotels, and exotic cars.

In a statement to Business Insider, Hunter Biden’s defense attorney Abbe Lowell said Biden had paid his taxes in full two years ago and called the charges “questionable.”

“Based on the facts and the law, if Hunter’s last name was anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought,” Lowell’s statement said.

The White House declined to comment on the indictment.

Read the original article on Insider


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