President Joe Biden claims to be a booster of public schools, but emails on his wayward son‘s laptop show how the family prefers exclusive and pricey private schools — even when their personal finances are in ruins.
Hunter Biden complained in one email reviewed by The Daily Wire of having to suffer “degradation” to keep his kids out of public schools. It’s quite a contrast, given that the elder Biden has fought certain school choice initiatives and voucher efforts that would give low-income children the ability to attend elite private institutions, and First Lady Jill Biden often boasts of her membership in the National Education Association teachers union.
“Have I ever missed a tuition payment or mortgage payment, a play or a game or any thing that ever mattered- or your Neiman Marcus bill?” the younger Biden asks in a 2015 message to his ex-wife, referring to what he had to do to pay his children’s private school tuition bills to keep them out of Washington, D.C., public schools. “Do you know what I’ve done to make that possible[?] Do you have any idea of the level of degradation?”
Even as he descended into crack addiction and frequently had to beg for cash advances for various expenses, one item that was off-limits to cutting was tuition for Sidwell Friends School, one of Washington’s most elite academies, where former President Obama’s daughters also attended. Other emails on the laptop corroborated the theme.
“The invoice just arrived today,” a Biden assistant wrote about the Sidwell bill for Hunter’s children Finnegan and Maisy in April 2015. “Total for the year is $73,630 so the monthly amount due will be $7,363.”
Tuition bills were the subject of frequent tension with the aides who helped Hunter Biden manage his affairs, with a secretary writing in one typical example, “There is no money in the Wells Fargo account to pay Sidwell tuition on the 20th since your Boies salary was $10K less than usual last month.”
In a 2012 message, business partner Eric Schwerin warned Hunter Biden the tuition payments were tipping one credit card to its limit.
“Don’t use ‘your’ card any more this month if possible,” Schwerin wrote. “Sidwell tuition is coming out today and with the airline tickets coming out this month too that account is now tapped out.”
The rest of the Biden clan seems just as averse to public schools for their children judging by text messages and emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Hallie Biden, the widow of President Biden’s eldest son, Beau, who went on to date Hunter Biden for a time, was also insistent on sending her kids to private schools. After the pair moved to Annapolis, Maryland, the first item on the agenda was selecting a school – and there is no evidence that they considered Annapolis’ well-regarded public schools, even though they apparently could not afford private tuition.
Hallie wasted no time setting up a tour of the Field School, a $51,200 (as of 2021-2022) school in one of Washington, D.C.’s toniest neighborhoods, which would require an hour drive each way. In a text message, Hallie wrote about the difficulty of affording private school tuition.
“Maybe I can get a part time job,” reads a text Hallie Biden sent to an unnamed friend which wound up on the computer of her brother-in-law turned paramour.
Ultimately, Hallie’s children enrolled in the Key School. In March 2019, Key sued Hallie for $55,740 for allegedly not paying tuition for her 7th and 8th graders for the 2018-19 school year.
Hallie Biden’s sister Elizabeth Secundy, who was also closely involved with Hunter, also sent her kids to private schools. In August 2017, Tom Hurster, a social worker with the Benchmark School, where Secundy’s daughter Lilly began attending sixth grade in 2015, emailed Hunter Biden to ask if the then-vice president could give a speech in exchange for forgiving the girl’s unpaid tuition.
“Candidly, it was my idea to approach Liz about the possibility of Vice-President Biden, and/or Dr. Jill Biden, appearing at Benchmark School for a speaking engagement within the upcoming school year, with the Biden’s foregoing their usual speaking fees in lieu of [the girl’s] outstanding tuition,” Hurster wrote. “In essence they would make an address to our community and instead of their being paid for such, their fees would be used to cover [the] outstanding tuition, thus allowing her to return for her final year. Currently the Secundy’s owe Benchmark $22,700,” he wrote. “We would use the occasion of their appearance to bolster our fund raising efforts.”
Secundy later turned to Hunter Biden for tuition payments for other private schools for her children. On August 1, 2018, she texted to Hunter: “can you transfer me some money. … i’m on phone with tatnall regarding robbie’s tuition.” Tatnall is a day school in Wilmington, Delaware, costing up to $32,680 for high schoolers.
On August 7, she texted a link to Upland Country Day School, where tuition runs as high as $28,980. She asked Hunter Biden to call the school, before writing, “never mind. i’ll just call the guy myself and tell him my relation.”
But even Hunter Biden had his limits when it came to footing the bill for children in his family circle to attend some of the nation’s most expensive schools.
“[Your daughter] is being a brat Liz,” Hunter Biden wrote Secundy on August 9, 2018. “What kid is entitled to be at any private school she wants regardless of circumstance. And for her to be crying over Upland is ridiculous. … Tell her she had no right to be hysterical over not being able to go to the $35k a year private school of her choosing.”
Apparently, Hunter sent Secundy money and the child did enroll in Upland. But by December of 2018, Secundy was looking for even more elite private schools, exploring a connection at Brewster Academy, a $69,900 boarding school, and touring the $67,750 for boarding Canterbury School and The Frederick Gunn School, a boarding school in Connecticut.
A 2010 article in the Atlantic describes how Joe Biden himself attended the exclusive Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware, as a youth despite his family not being able to afford it, calling him a “lost child of privilege.” Biden’s family was wealthy during parts of his childhood, but later fell on hard times.
“In Joey’s eyes, the family had been exiled from wealth and social standing; regaining this lost patrimony has been one of the central themes of Biden’s life. As a boy, he set his heart on Archmere Academy, a Catholic prep school on a leafy campus across the road from the house his family moved to in Claymont, Delaware, when Joey was 10. His parents couldn’t afford the full tuition, but Joey eventually entered a work-study program, and labored on the school’s grounds crew in order to attend classes with the elite,” the article said.
The Biden family’s preference for private schools, even in the face of financial strain, flies in the face of the patriarch’s public stance. In recent months, the Biden administration has proposed rules that would severely curtail new charter schools – an option that makes higher-performing schools accessible to children who couldn’t otherwise afford to escape traditional public schools. Teachers unions advocated for the move because too many students transferring to more elite schools could decrease public school size.
Even so, Biden family members have been quick to cash in on charter schools personally.
During the Obama-Biden administration, Joe’s brother Frank Biden was involved in a for-profit company that had nominally non-profit charter schools that faced allegations of funneling money to itself for management fees.
The students mainly just sat in front of computers for “self-directed learning,” Peter Schweizer reported in the book Profiles in Corruption. Graduation rates at the schools were as low as 4.5%, and the schools were accused of enrollment fraud. According to reports, the company that owned the real estate that the schools rented, quickly converted taxpayer education dollars into paid-off mortgages for the company.
In July 2018, Hallie assured Hunter that she, too, had a new revenue stream: a “Development job at a pretty new charter school DDLHS.”