‘Biden blood only’: Hunter Biden’s ex-wife describes Secret Service exclusion – The Guardian US

June 9, 2022
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Kathleen Buhle will publish her memoir If We Break: A Memoir of Marriage, Addiction, and Healing next week
In a new book, Hunter Biden’s first wife describes how a denial of Secret Service protection while her father-in-law was vice-president “triggered” her fear of exclusion from the Biden family, years before the breakup of her marriage amid Hunter Biden’s highly public problems with addiction and political scandal.
Kathleen Buhle will publish If We Break: A Memoir of Marriage, Addiction, and Healing next week. The book has been excerpted in People magazine. The Guardian obtained a copy.
Buhle details the breakup of her marriage and its aftermath in painful detail.
But she describes a warm relationship with Joe Biden, who she says greeted her when they first met by putting “his hands on my cheeks and look[ing] me in the eyes, his nose almost touching my own”.
Buhle says Biden, then a senator from Delaware, told her: “Honey, my boy tells me he loves you, so that means I love you too. Understand? I love you.”
She also says Biden “introduced me as his daughter everywhere we went” and says the family saw the future president as “the sun around which we all revolved”.
However, Buhle also describes a meeting with a Secret Service agent shortly before Biden became vice-president to Barack Obama, in January 2009.
The agent, she says, explained how “Hunter and the girls will all have a detail assigned to them. Two agents with them 24 hours a day.”
But the agent also told Buhle she would only be “picked up and included in any plan” if there was “any type of emergency”.
Buhle writes: “Suddenly, I felt embarrassed. I knew the Secret Service would be a part of this new life, but I didn’t know how. Did this mean I was less important than my husband and my kids? What I heard in his words: I was not truly a Biden.”
The exclusion, she writes, “triggered an old memory from early in our marriage. We were taking family photos and Hunter’s aunt was running the show. ‘OK, how about one with just Joe and Jill,’ she’d said [referring to Joe Biden’s wife, now first lady]. We all stood around as she directed different iterations of us to be photographed. At one point she announced, ‘Now let’s do Biden blood only.’”
Buhle says she asked her husband to decline Secret Service coverage.
“But he was unwavering,” she writes. “He was not going to forego Secret Service protection. ‘Kathleen, this is how it has always been. It isn’t personal. In-laws have never had protection,’ he said.”
According to its website, “by law, the Secret Service is authorized to protect: the president, the vice-president, (or other individuals next in order of succession to the Office of the President), the president-elect and vice president-elect [and] the immediate families of the above individuals”.
Buhle says she backed down, “ultimately understanding that it wasn’t personal”, but says her lack of protection “remained a sore point for me”.
Whenever she and Hunter walked anywhere, she writes, she asked him not to walk in front of her, because that caused their protective detail to walk in front of her too.
“It was another reminder that I was not ‘family’,” Buhle writes, “an echo of the call to have me step out of the picture. Biden blood only.
“Maybe some part of me knew that soon I was going to have to fight as hard as I ever had just to stay in my marriage.”
In describing the disintegration of that marriage – which Hunter Biden has also described in a memoir, Beautiful Things – Buhle also describes an occasion five years after Joe Biden became vice-president when two agents asked her where Hunter had gone, because they could not find him.
She knew he had gone to Mexico “to try yet another recovery program” to deal with his struggle with addiction.
“I texted Hunter and told him he had to call his Secret Service detail,” Buhle writes. “He told me he was going to ask to be released from coverage. After almost six years of Secret Service protection, Hunter would now be on his own.”
Hunter Biden is now the son of a president, again with Secret Service protection, the costs of which have been widely reported.

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