Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Biden and Trump’s reactions to historic trials couldn’t be more different

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President Joe Biden on Tuesday underlined his belief that can’t say the justice system is “rigged” just because you don’t like a verdict, offering a starkly different response to a historic trial than former President Donald Trump.

Biden reiterated his respect for the judicial process after a Delaware jury found Hunter Biden guilty of three felony counts of lying on gun purchasing forms and unlawfully owning a firearm.

“I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

It’s the first time in the nation’s history that a sitting president’s child has been found guilty of a felony. Based on the case’s particulars, Biden’s legal team faced a stiff challenge in securing an immediate acquittal. The appeals process could be much more favorable to them.

Biden has also made it clear he won’t use his pardon power, one of the few presidential powers that is virtually unquestioned. It is expected that Trump would use his sway over the Justice Department to scuttle the other pending federal prosecutions against him.

In contrast to Biden, Trump lashed out repeatedly before, during, and after his Manhattan criminal trial that resulted in him becoming the first former president to be found guilty of a felony. The former president repeatedly put forward a theory, without evidence, that Biden and the Justice Department were involved in the local case brought against him.

“This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump told reporters in the Manhattan courtroom hallway after a jury found him guilty on all 34 counts.

After the Trump verdict, Biden said Americans can’t say they respect the rule of law only when they agree with a jury’s verdict.

“[I’]t’s reckless, it’s dangerous, and it’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict,” Biden said. “Our justice system has endured for nearly 250 years, and it literally is the cornerstone of America — our justice system. The justice system should be respected, and we should never allow anyone to tear it down.  It’s as simple as that.”

Trump and Biden’s responses are not the only difference.

Biden’s family, led by first lady Jill Biden, surrounded Hunter Biden almost every day the trial was held. In comparison, first lady Melania Trump never appeared in the Manhattan courtroom, despite the swarm of Republican lawmakers and vice presidential hopefuls who showed up to support Trump. Some of Trump’s adult children did attend the trial

Trump and Republicans will have to tread carefully going forward.

Trump and Republicans have spent years assailing Hunter Biden. The president’s son is central to House Republicans’ ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Despite years of probes, Republicans have yet to produce direct evidence that Biden participated in an alleged influence peddling scheme when he was vice president.

But many Americans have sympathy for Hunter Biden’s struggle with his drug addiction. Trump himself experienced this when he went after Biden’s son directly during a 2020 presidential debate.

“My son, my son, my son — like a lot people, like a lot of people you know at home — had a drug problem,” Biden said in response to Trump needling him about Hunter. “He’s overtaken it, he’s fixed it, he’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.”

Biden’s defense of his son was one of the standout moments of the debate.

Ahead of his rematch with Trump, Biden will juggle his defense of Hunter with his normal campaign duties. Just hours after the verdict, Biden was set to give a previously scheduled address that will call for stricter gun laws. Hunter Biden’s sentencing is expected to happen in mid-October. He technically faces up to 25 years in prison, but legal experts don’t expect him to face time behind bars as a first-time offender. Hunter Biden faces separate federal tax charges in September.

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