In My Own Words: All the presidents’ children

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Maybe it’s time for the Justice Department to investigate Hunter Biden’s business practices. Before Democrats start complaining and Republicans start cheering, I also think we need an investigation into Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany Trump’s business activities. If any of them were involved in illegal, irregular or immoral business practices, then let’s get it out into the open. Enough with the innuendoes and rumors. We need to be clear about anything they may have done wrong, regardless of their political party. I want facts, not sly remarks denigrating those of whom we don’t approve. 

If one of their parents was involved in any of those illegal, irregular or immoral business practices, then they, too, should suffer the penalty. In addition, if you believe that President Joe Biden should resign if his son was involved in anything illegal, even if he didn’t do anything illegal, then you also must say that Donald Trump shouldn’t run for office again if his children were involved in anything illegal, even if he was not involved. What goes for one political party goes for the other.

In fact, maybe we should be investigating siblings, parents and spouses of those running for political office or being appointed to a governmental position. This idea doesn’t come out of nowhere: when Jimmy Carter was running for president, people looked into the activities of his brother, Billy, hoping to find something to smear his candidacy. I’m sure the same has been done with relatives in other national, state or local elections – by Democrats and Republicans. 

I know we tend to discredit what is said about the families of candidates we like. This is true for Biden and Trump supporters. Each side thinks their favorite is being picked on, while the other side seems unwilling to admit to any malfeasance. I understand the impulse: we don’t want to hear anything bad about someone we admire and/or support. (Those two are not always the same thing.) But it did make me think when I read the opening of an essay that said the same people who are dismissing Hunter’s activities would not being doing the same if those allegations were directed at Trump’s children. I can’t tell you who wrote that essay or which side of the political spectrum he is on. I stopped reading after that statement because it was enough to make me realize that I’d done that. But now it’s time to stop and treat each side the same.

By the way, I’m not talking about candidates or office holders doing this research or making illegal deals to get information. If there is a possible problem, then it should be referred to our criminal justice system. This should not be political: illegal business behavior is illegal no matter to which party you belong. You don’t get a pass for being a Democrat, Republican or Independent. 

So, investigate Hunter Biden and, if he did something wrong, arrest him. But there also have been numerous complaints about the Trump family’s business practices for years, so let’s do a thorough investigation of them, too. If you think that one side or the other won’t get a fair shake, then we have a bigger problem – one that desperately needs to be fixed. It also wouldn’t hurt if everyone running for office or seeking appointment to a political position remembered that the press and the opposing party are going to review their lives with a fine tooth comb. If you’ve done something illegal, maybe it’s best not to seek election and/or to decline that political appointment.