The president of the United States should come clean to the American public. 

First, he misled voters when he repeatedly said Hunter Biden’s damaging leaked laptop emails were “Russian disinformation.”  

They were not.

Second, less than a year after leaving office as vice president, Biden either (a) allowed his son to use him as leverage in a murky foreign business deal or (b) failed to prevent him from doing so. 

Whichever is true, the facts merit a public apology as well as specific steps to reassure the American people the president isn’t compromised by these business dealings.

Honesty is the only path forward. Failing to square with the public on such an important matter would be beneath the dignity of the office Biden now holds.

The respected New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, recently suggested the real lesson from the Hunter Biden saga is how his father wouldn’t give up on loving him despite his addiction and public humiliation. 

I believe President Biden has sincerely sought to love and help his troubled son.

Listening to a private voicemail Joe Biden left for Hunter in 2018, one can sense the sincerity of Biden’s heartache. “It’s Dad,” Biden can be heard saying with emotion. “I called to tell you I love you. I love you more than the world, pal. You gotta get some help.” 

But one can acknowledge Biden’s laudable efforts as a father while also demanding accountability for misleading the American people and encouraging, or at least not preventing, his family’s murky foreign business deals. 

Indeed, modeling integrity and transparency is perhaps one of the best ways for President Biden to help his son. 

Of course, none of this is to give a pass to other politicians or political families involved in overseas influence peddling. Sadly, there’s plenty of “whataboutism” to go around these days. 

The extensive, and often concerning, foreign business dealings of the Trumps or the Clintons or any other political family should continue to be the subject of public scrutiny. 

We will only restore ethics and moral scrupulosity to our politics if we don’t excuse “lesser evils.” Biden deserves a pass because we don’t like Trump or Trump deserves a pass because we don’t like Biden is no way for a country to choose its leaders.  

At the moment, President Joe Biden is the country’s commander in chief. He must address these issues or risk losing the public’s trust. He should begin by explaining the 2017 text message from Hunter Biden about a business dispute with a Chinese associate in which the first son invokes his father as leverage in negotiations.

“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled,” Hunter Biden wrote to Raymond Zhao via Whatsapp, only seven months after Joe Biden had left public office. 

Hunter Biden went on: “And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.”

According to a memorandum from the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, the committee reviewed evidence that, in the words of the Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., suggests “members of the Biden family and their companies received over $1.3 million in payments” from an associate, but originating through a “wire from a Chinese energy company.”

The money, according to the evidence reviewed by Comer, “went not only to Hunter and James Biden, but also to Hallie Biden and an unknown ‘Biden.’” Comer said in a statement, “It is unclear what services were provided to obtain this exorbitant amount of money.” 

The Oversight committee is rightly “concerned” about this evidence suggesting potential foreign financial entanglements and their attendant national security implications.

Former elected officials are free to pursue private business opportunities. But it was clear even before Biden left office that there was a good chance he would run for president. In January 2017, he joked to journalist Jonathan Alter that “I’ll run, if I can walk.” And, of course, he did in fact run.

But he never disclosed his family’s foreign business activities. 

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Biden’s allies, meanwhile, have tended to distance the president from Hunter Biden’s business dealings and personal behavior. Hunter Biden recently pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a firearm and to federal tax charges. 

Commentator Ana Navarro, for example, recently went so far as to characterize these scandals as a story mostly about fatherly love.

“The Hunter Biden story, the scandal, the this, the that, it’s also a story of a father’s love, and Joe Biden has never and will never give up on his son Hunter and will never treat him lesser than. He is a father first,” Navarro said on a recent episode of “The View.”

President Biden should, indeed, be a father first.

And the right thing for a father to do in this situation is to take responsibility, apologize and start acting in a way that assures the public their commander in chief is not beholden to any constituency other than the American voter.