WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden on Friday for the first time publicly acknowledged his seventh grandchild, a four-year-old girl fathered by his son Hunter with an Arkansas woman, Lunden Roberts, in 2018.
"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," Biden said in a statement. It was his first acknowledgement of the child.
"This is not a political issue, it’s a family matter," he said. "Jill and I only want what is best for all of our grandchildren, including Navy."
Hunter Biden's paternity was established by DNA testing after Roberts sued for child support, and the two parties recently resolved outstanding child support issues. The president's son wrote about his encounter with Roberts in his 2021 memoir, saying it came while he was deep in addiction to alcohol and drugs, including crack cocaine.
"I had no recollection of our encounter," he wrote. "That’s how little connection I had with anyone. I was a mess, but a mess I’ve taken responsibility for."
An attorney for Roberts did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
FILE - Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, arrives at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The president, who has made a commitment to family central to his public persona, has faced increasing criticism from political rivals and pundits for failing to acknowledge the granddaughter. According to a person familiar with the matter, he was taking the cue from his son while the legal proceedings played out. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private matters.
Hunter Biden has four other children, including a son, Beau, born by his wife Melissa Cohen in 2020. He was named after the president's late son who died of cancer in 2015, leaving behind two children.
Biden's grandchildren have played a distinctive role in his presidency, often accompanying the president or first lady on trips and making regular visits to the White House. The president has also credited his grandchildren with persuading him to challenge then-President Donald Trump for the White House in 2020.
Biden's statement was first reported by People Magazine.